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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology
Volume 18, Issue 6, Pages 363-367
Original Article

Usefulness of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis in Tracking Two Outbreaks of Invasive Meningococcal Disease Serogroup C in British Columbia

Grahame Quan,1,2 Mark Gilbert,1,2 Samara T David,2,3 Tazim Rahim,2 Kathy Adie,2 Carol Shaw,2 Alan McNabb,2 Judy Isaac-Renton,1,2 and David M Patrick1,2

1University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
3Canadian Field Epidemiology Program, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Received 2 April 2007; Accepted 5 September 2007

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Two major outbreaks of invasive meningococcal disease serogroup C (IMD-C) were identified in British Columbia between 2000 and 2004. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and porA gene sequencing of all retained IMD-C isolates were used to assess correlations between genotypes and epidemiological patterns. PFGE patterns of IMD-C genotypes correlated with epidemiological patterns between 2000 and 2004 in British Columbia, and demonstrated that PFGE can identify outbreak-related cases. Both IMD-C outbreaks correlated with a respective PFGE pattern. PFGE analysis demonstrated that the 2004 British Columbia outbreak strain in men who have sex with men was closely related to the 2001 Abbotsford outbreak strain. PorA sequencing data indicated low diversity of class 1 outer membrane proteins in British Columbia, and did not correlate with epidemiological trends. There was a trend for outbreak-associated PFGE types to demonstrate higher case fatality rates.