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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Infectious Diseases 1/2017

Investigation of Salmonella Enteritidis outbreaks in South Africa using multi-locus variable-number tandem-repeats analysis, 2013-2015

BMC Infectious Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2017
Munyadziwa Muvhali, Anthony Marius Smith, Andronica Moipone Rakgantso, Karen Helena Keddy



Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (Salmonella Enteritidis) has become a significant pathogen in South Africa, and the need for improved molecular surveillance of this pathogen has become important. Over the years, multi-locus variable-number tandem-repeats analysis (MLVA) has become a valuable molecular subtyping technique for Salmonella, particularly for highly homogenic serotypes such as Salmonella Enteritidis. This study describes the use of MLVA in the molecular epidemiological investigation of outbreak isolates in South Africa.


Between the years 2013 and 2015, the Centre for Enteric Diseases (CED) received 39 Salmonella Enteritidis isolates from seven foodborne illness outbreaks, which occurred in six provinces. MLVA was performed on all isolates.


Three MLVA profiles (MLVA profiles 21, 22 and 28) were identified among the 39 isolates. MLVA profile 28 accounted for 77% (30/39) of the isolates. Isolates from a single outbreak were grouped into a single MLVA profile. A minimum spanning tree (MST) created from the MLVA data showed a close relationship between MLVA profiles 21, 22 and 28, with a single VNTR locus difference between them.


MLVA has proven to be a reliable method for the molecular epidemiological investigation of Salmonella Enteritidis outbreaks in South Africa. These foodborne outbreaks emphasize the importance of the One Health approach as an essential component for combating the spread of zoonotic pathogens such as Salmonella Enteritidis.
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