The epidemiology of pulmonary colonisation by was studied in 21 patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) by field inversion gel electrophoresis. I-DNA restriction patterns were analysed for 187 isolates from these patients. The results revealed that the strains present in individual patients varied during the course of chronic colonisation; the emergence of new strains often was associated with periods of antibiotic therapy. Patients often were colonised by more than one strain (two or three strains were present in 54% of the patients) and the strains obtained from unrelated patients were highly heterogeneous, in contrast to those isolated from a pair of twins. These results demonstrate the heterogeneity and variability of isolates in the pulmonary flora of chronically infected CF patients.


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