Epidemiology and Infection

Special Article

Incidence and spread of Haemophilus influenzae on an Antarctic base determined using the polymerase chain reaction

R. P. Hobsona1, A. Williamsa1, K. Rawala1, T. H. Penningtona1 and K. J. Forbesa1

a1 Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB9 2ZD


A PCR-based method of detecting Haemophilus influenzae in cultures inoculated from throat swabs was evaluated using samples from groups of laboratory staff and medical students and then applied to samples originating from the closed human community of an Antarctic research station. Suitable PCR primers to an H. influenzae gene (ompP2) were used to amplify the gene from DNA preparations made from mixed growth on chocolate agar with added vancomycin. PCR product was reamplified and subjected to restriction endonuclease digestion to allow temporal and spatial mapping of strains over an 8-month period. Eleven different strains of H. influenzae were detected. One particular strain was detected in a third of the base members.

(Accepted September 07 1994)