A Brief Introduction to PulseNet Taiwan

Chien-Shun Chiou

2007 Vol.23 NO.4

Correspondence Author: Chien-Shun Chiou


Centers for Disease Control, under Department of Health, the Executive Yuan (Taiwan CDC) has officially announced on 3rd of October 2006 the launch of a national network of public health laboratories named PulseNet Taiwan. This surveillance network was used to perform standardized molecular subtyping (or ”fingerprinting”) by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) for the purposes of detecting and identifying bacteria causing food borne diseases. The technical platform of such standardized procedures was inherited from USA CDC as the latter established the very first PulseNet in 1996. PulseNet has achieved great results when used in the surveillance of a large outbreak of food borne illness in 1993 caused by the bacterium Escherichia coil O15 7:H7 in the western United States. PulseNet technical platform includes standardized PFGE genetic subtyping techniques, the use of computer software BioNumerics for analyzing/comparing DNA fingerprints or PFGE patterns obtained from different specimens, setting up a PFGE pattern database, and an internet system for data exchange. How PulseNet works is by starting with PFGE patterns of unknown isolates being made by participant laboratories with standardized equipment and methods,
followed by comparing them with strain patterns previously filed in the database,