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Retrospective analysis of whole genome sequencing compared to prospective typing data in further informing the epidemiological investigation of an outbreak of Shigella sonnei in the UK

  • J. McDONNELL (a1), T. DALLMAN (a2), S. ATKIN (a1), D. A. TURBITT (a1), T. R. CONNOR (a3), K. A. GRANT (a2), N. R. THOMSON (a3) and C. JENKINS (a2)...

Summary

The aim of this study was to retrospectively assess the value of whole genome sequencing (WGS) compared to conventional typing methods in the investigation and control of an outbreak of Shigella sonnei in the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) community in the UK. The genome sequence analysis showed that the strains implicated in the outbreak formed three phylogenetically distinct clusters. One cluster represented cases associated with recent exposure to a single strain, whereas the other two clusters represented related but distinct strains of S. sonnei circulating in the OJ community across the UK. The WGS data challenged the conclusions drawn during the initial outbreak investigation and allowed cases of dysentery to be implicated or ruled out of the outbreak that were previously misclassified. This study showed that the resolution achieved using WGS would have clearly defined the outbreak, thus facilitating the promotion of infection control measures within local schools and the dissemination of a stronger public health message to the community.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr C. Jenkins, Gastrointestinal Bacteria Reference Unit, Health Protection Agency, 61 Colindale Ave, London NW9 5HT, UK. (Email: claire.jenkins@hpa.org.uk)

References

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