Legionella pneumophila is the main pathogen responsible for outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease, which can be related to contaminated water supplies such as cooling towers or water pipes. We combined conventional molecular methods and whole genome sequence (WGS) analysis to investigate an outbreak of L. pneumophila in a large Australian hospital. Typing of these isolates using sequence-based typing and virulence gene profiling, was unable to discriminate between outbreak and non-outbreak isolates. WGS analysis was performed on isolates during the outbreak, as well as on unlinked isolates from the Public Health Microbiology reference collection. The more powerful resolution provided by analysis of whole genome sequences allowed outbreak isolates to be distinguished from isolates that were temporally and spatially unassociated with the outbreak, demonstrating that this technology can be used in real-time to investigate L. pneumophila outbreaks.
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