Phage types?????

knunan at knunan at
Wed Sep 7 10:34:31 EST 1994

Pahge typing, like serological testing, looks for similarities
in bacteria; it is helpful in tracing the origin and progress
of a disease outbreak. Phage typing determines which pages a
bacterium is susceptible to ... bacterial phages are bacterial
viruses and they usually cause lysis of the bacterial cells
they infect.  They are quite specific and certain bacteriophages
(phages...)infect only members of a particular species or
even a specific strain within a species. One strain may be
susceptible to two different phages, etc. A diff strain may be
susceptible to those same two phages plus a third. 

In a hospital outbreak of MRSA phage typing provides a means
of helping to identify the source of the outbreak. One way the test
is done is on a plate of staph growing on agar marked off in
small aquares. Into each square a drop ,.of a different phage type 
is instilled. In the squares where the staph mclears it shows
susceptibility to the phage used.  A test like this might
demonstrate that staph from a surgical wound has the same
pattern of phage sensitivity as the staph isolated say from
the surgeon or scrub nurses. As such this is a very important
component to the epidemiological surveillance effort.

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