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Ribotype restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) profiles and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis—resolved macrochromosomal RFLPs were analyzed, a ribotype-basedphylogenic tree was constructed, and case-control and cohort studies were performed.
A single dominant clone was found in both CF and non-CF groups.
To investigate the potential role of the environment or environmental contamination as a source of acquisition, 124 cultures of ICU environments were performed between September 1990 and February 1991.
Of the 245 non-CF patients, isolates were obtained from sputum (228), intravenous catheters (11), urine (10), wounds (10), chest tube drainage (2), pleural (4), and miscellaneous sites (5).
Isolates from 90 of the 245 non-CF patients were banked.
Ribotype RFLP patterns of isolates from this outbreak were compared with those of other isolates in our database, permitting phylogenic analysis and a graphical representation of the evolution of this ubiquitous environmental organism that has emerged as a human pathogen.
The outbreak occurred at a university hospital in Mississippi.
It was first described in 1950 by Burkholder  as the phytopathogen responsible for “slippery skin,” a bacterial rot of onions.