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Molecular Epidemiology

IEH is internationally recognized for our expertise in molecular epidemiology.

Molecular epidemiology is a field in microbial genomics that involves high resolution comparison of microbial genomes to determine their relatedness. In foodborne outbreak investigations the aim is to compare the food isolates to that of the patients. Investigations of potential harborage in food production facilities involves the use of molecular epidemiology to determine if some of the environmental isolates are genetically identical.

Molecular Epidemiology Applications:

  • Tracking sources of product contamination

  • Identifying harborages of pathogens in the production environment

  • Tracking microbial contamination to suppliers

  • Linking a product to a foodborne outbreak

  • Eliminating a potential contamination source by showing that isolates from different products, environments or patients are unrelated

Molecular Epidemiology Methods:

  • Whole Genome Sequencing

  • Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE)

  • Micro-Restriction Fingerprinting (MRF)

  • Multiple-Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA)

  • Ribotyping