MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry as a Tool for Epidemiological Outbreak Analysis Can it Work?
Author(s): Nico T Mutters, Irene Burckhardt and Klaus HeegNico T Mutters, Irene Burckhardt and Klaus Heeg
Background: Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) provides fast and accurate identification of microorganisms. Several reports have speculated about its use in epidemiological typing. However, there is no systematic comparison with standard typing methods, such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). This study evaluates the potential use of MALDI-TOF for the analysis of suspected outbreaks of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), compared to PFGE. Methods: During a suspected outbreak of VRE, including five patients, on an intensive care unit, all isolates were analyzed by PFGE as well as by MALDI-TOF. A series of 24 spectra for each extracted isolate were created. Obtained spectra were smoothed, baseline corrected and calibrated. Subsequently, main spectra (MSP) were created using a Microflex mass spectrometer (Bruker.. Read More»