In serological typing of strains from human, equine and environmental sources, the capsular identity of many isolates could not be determined because of serological cross-reactivity. A panel of 91 bacteriophages able to lyse each of the 77 capsular serotypes of was isolated and tested for the ability to distinguish between strains in a collection of 17 clinical isolates of which exhibited cross-reactivity with two or more capsular type sera. Most isolates could be assigned a capsular type by performing a simple streak test with bacteriophage, although some required the application of an efficiency of plating analysis to discern capsular type. Bacteriophage typing was found to be an effective, inexpensive and clinically practical adjunct to serotyping in distinguishing serologically cross-reactive isolates, irrespective of their origin.


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