This study investigated the source of infection and strain relatedness of isolates from bronchial colonisation and invasive aspergillosis (IA) in four transplant patients. Environmental isolates from the patient's home and from the hospital and infecting isolates were obtained for patient A who developed IA. Clinic environmental and colonising isolates were obtained for patient B. Sequential isolates were obtained from various organs from patient C who developed IA and also from patient D who had a bronchitic aspergillosis that developed into IA. Ninety-one isolates were analysed by three typing methods: multi-locus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE), random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and sequence-specific DNA primers (SSDP). The three combined typing methods demonstrated a greater differentiation of isolates than the typing methods used separately or in pairs. This demonstrated the genotypic variability of and facilitated better epidemiological analysis. Large polymorphisms were demonstrated for each patient isolate between and colonies within various samples. The relatedness of the isolates suggested nosocomially acquired aspergillosis for patient B, but the source of infection for patient A remained unclear. The results suggested at least three multiple infections among the four patients. This study enabled the identification of the source of infection and strain relatedness, which in turn facilitates the development of preventive measures for patient management in the future.


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