Skip to comments.DNA sequencers stymie superbug spread
Posted on 11/16/2012 2:02:48 PM PST by neverdem
Whole-genome analysis helps identify source of MRSA outbreak on infant ward.
A superbug outbreak that plagued a special-care neonatal unit in Cambridge, UK, for several months last year was brought to an end by insights gained from genome sequencing. The case, reported today in Lancet Infectious Disease, marks the first time that scientists have sequenced pathogen genomes to actively control an ongoing outbreak1.
Sharon Peacock, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, and her team became involved in the outbreak after three infants at nearby Rosie Hospitals 24-cot special-care baby unit tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) within a couple days of each other.
Bacteria isolated from the three infants were resistant to a nearly identical spectrum of antibiotics, pointing to a common source, says Peacock. The unit was scrubbed clean, and officials hoped that the outbreak was over.
Out of scientific curiosity, though, Peacock's team went on to investigate whether the three cases were linked to a string of MRSA infections at Rosie over the previous six months. Lab tests suggested that at least 8 other children had been infected by MRSA strains with similar antibiotic-resistance profiles in that time. But weeks would go by without an infection, suggesting that the bacteria were not simply spreading from baby to baby in the unit.
Joining the dots In the hope of connecting the dots, Peacocks team began sequencing the genomes of MRSA strains from the unit, as well as similar strains collected from adult patients at other hospitals and doctors sugeries. They suspected that adult carriers explained the long gaps between infections in the baby unit.
But the latest outbreak wasnt over. Days after the unit was sterilized, another baby there tested positive for MRSA. Genome sequencing confirmed that the strain matched the other suspected cases.
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Check the 1st Lancet ID reference. It's closely related to my link.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my combined microbiology/immunology ping list.
Check the Lancet Infectious Diseases reference. Then check my link in comment# 3. MRSA with Panton-Valentine leucocidin has been around longer than I thought. That staff member carrying it needs a new job.