All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Pat Greenup

Advisory Committee Members

Susan Hollingshead

Stephen Moser

Ken Waites

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) School of Health Professions


Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains have been observed to be associated with community based individuals (CA-MRSA) and hospitalized patients (HA-MRSA). The CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA are no longer distinguishable based on the location of patient when the isolate was first obtained from the patient. These strains are now observed both in the hospital and community settings. While the origin of the isolate does not appear to be critical, it is important to genetically define these isolates to assist in epidemiological investigations and evaluation of infection control measures effectiveness. The conventional method for analyzing this genetic information has been pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) but with methodology limitations. Multi-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) is a new method for distinguishing isolates based on genetic relatedness. The goal of this study was to compare the MLVA method with the PFGE method to assess cost per test, turnaround time, hands-on-time, ease of use and discriminatory power of each of the methods. This study examined 56 isolates defined as CA-MRSA which included strains within the USA-300 clone, 53 isolates defined as HA-MRSA and 6 reference strains. All isolates were subjected to analysis by both methods, and dendograms were prepared to arrange the isolates into similarity groups. Based on the use of the Simpson’s Index the MLVA method was determined to have greater discriminatory power. Additionally, the MLVA method had a shorter turn around time, less hands-on-time was more cost effective and was easier to perform than the PFGE method.



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