A new serotyping method for Klebsiella species using indirect immunofluorescence is described. Nonspecific fluorescence has been minimized by carrying out the capsular antigen-antibody reaction at pH 9.0. Commercial antisera have been tested with the 72 antigenic types of Klebsiella, and appropriate dilutions of each pool and specific antisera have been proposed for use in routine typing. Dilutions were chosen to allow strong fluorescence with each type and its specific antiserum and minimal fluorescence with cross reacting antisera. Where the pool antisera gave a weak reaction for one or more of the component types, it is recommended that the specific antisera for these types be added to the pool dilution. The few remaining cross reactions, with the pool and specific antisera in test dilution, are listed in a table. The unique cross reacting patterns of particular types have been found to be useful in identification. Typing Klebsiella by the fluorescent antibody technique is easy to perform and interpret; the results are reproducible, and it is less expensive than the existing capsular swelling method as it is more sensitive and requires less concentrated antisera. This new method of typing should facilitate detailed epidemiological studies of the mode of transmission of Klebsiella species in hospitals and thus allow more effective infection control measures to be instituted.
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