Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo
Print version ISSN 0036-4665
LEAL, Nilma C. and ALMEIDA, Alzira M. P. de. Diagnosis of plague and identification of virulence markers in Yersinia pestis by multiplex-PCR. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo [online]. 1999, vol.41, n.6, pp. 339-342. ISSN 0036-4665. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-46651999000600002.
We have developed a procedure for the rapid diagnosis of plague that also allows the identification of prominent virulence markers of Y. pestis strains. This procedure is based upon the use of a single polymerase chain reaction with multiple pairs of primers directed at genes present in the three virulence plasmids as well as in the chromosomal pathogenicity island of the bacterium. The technique allowed the discrimination of strains which lacked one or more of the known pathogenic loci, using as template total DNA obtained from bacterial cultures and from simulated blood cultures containing diluted concentration of bacteria. It also proved effective in confirming the disease in a blood culture from a plague suspected patient. As the results are obtained in a few hours this technique will be useful in the methodology of the Plague Control Program.
Keywords : Yersinia pestis; Plague; Blood culture; Virulence markers; Multiplex-PCR.