Pcr Comparison Of Mycobacterium Avium Isolates Obtained From Patients And Foods

Mycobacterium avium is a cause of disseminated disease in AIDS patients. A need for a better understanding of possible sources and routes of transmission of this organism has arisen. This study utilized a PCR typing method designed to amplify DNA segments located between the insertion sequences IS1245 and IS1311 to compare levels of relatedness of M. avium isolates found in patients and foods. Twenty-five of 121 food samples yielded 29 mycobacterial isolates, of which 12 were M. avium. Twelve food and 13 clinical M. avium isolates were tested. A clinical isolate was found to be identical to a food isolate, and close relationships were found between two patient isolates and two food isolates. Relatedness between food isolates and patient isolates suggests the possibility that food is a potential source of M. avium infection. This study demonstrates a rapid, inexpensive method for typing M. avium, possibly replacing pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.