SUMMARY: Thirty-two isolates of collected from various hosts ranging from arthropods to man were compared by restriction endonuclease (RE) digestion patterns of chromosomal DNA using SDS-PAGE. SDS-PAGE provided better DNA fragment separation than agarose gel electrophoresis and enabled the differentiation of these isolates into six distinct groups on the basis of DNA restriction fingerprints. Two groups of chronic disease isolates could be distinguished, each having unique RE digestion patterns of chromosomal DNA. Three similar but distinct RE digestion patterns were seen among the group of acute disease isolates. Three additional isolates included in this study exhibited a unique RE digestion pattern and also had a unique plasmid type, designated QpDG. DNA-DNA hybridization on selected isolates quantified the relatedness between several groups and supported the classification of these groups as distinct strains.


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