Epidemiology / Genetic Fingerprinting

IEH is internationally recognized for our expertise in genotyping and subtyping E. coli O157:H7 and other bacterial pathogens for identifying and tracking sources of microbial contamination.

The same bacterial species isolated from different sources within a meat plant are indistinguishable using standard microbial techniques. However, molecular subtyping can reveal whether they are related at the genetic level and determine if multiple sources of contamination exist.

Using “genetic fingerprints,” we map the movement of microorganisms from the pre-harvest sector through the conversion of live animals into meat products.

Our ability to accurately distinguish between isolates
at the genetic level enables our clients to:

  • Track sources of product contamination
  • Identify harborages of pathogens on production equipment
  • Track microbial contamination to suppliers
  • Link a product to a foodborne outbreak
  • Eliminate a potential contamination source by showing that isolates from different products, environments or patients are unrelated

At IEH, we apply highly discriminatory DNA subtyping methods, including:

  • Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE)
  • Micro-Restriction Fingerprinting (MRF)
  • Ribotyping
  • Multiple-Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA)
  • April 25th, 2013
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