Epidemiology and Infection

Molecular characterization of Coxiella burnetii isolates

C. JÄGER a1c1, H. WILLEMS a1, D. THIELE a1 and G. BALJER a1
a1 Institute for Hygiene and Infectious Diseases of Animals, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany


Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) was used for the differentiation of 80 Coxiella burnetii isolates derived from animals and humans in Europe, USA, Africa and Asia. After NotI restriction of total C. burnetii DNA and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) 20 different restriction patterns were distinguished. The index of discrimination for this typing system was 0·86. Comparison and phylogenetic analysis of the different RFLP patterns revealed evolutionary relationships among groups that corresponded to the geographical origin of the isolates. This finding was confirmed by genetic mapping. No correlation between restriction group and virulence of isolates was detected.

(Accepted November 17 1997)

c1 Author for correspondence.