Strain typing is an integral part of epidemiological investigations of nosocomial infections. Although not all molecular techniques are equally effective for typing all organisms, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis is the technique currently favored for most nosocomial pathogens. Nucleic acid amplification-based typing methods also are applicable to many organisms and can be completed within a single day, but interpretive criteria still are under debate. Strain typing cannot be used to replace a sound epidemiological investigation, but serves as a useful adjunct to such investigations.

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