Whole genome sequencing may help officials get a handle on disease outbreaks

phys.org | 2/13/2019 | Staff
brunodeuce44 (Posted by) Level 3
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Whole genome sequencing technology may give epidemiologists and healthcare workers a powerful weapon in tracking and, possibly, controlling outbreaks of serious diseases, according to a team of researchers.

In a study, researchers found that both international and domestic sources of Shigella sonnei, which is the fourth most common cause of bacterial foodborne illnesses in the U.S., were from a related group of the bacteria, called Lineage II. Experts originally proposed that the international and domestic strains of Shigella were likely from different sources, according to the researchers, who published their findings in a recent issue of Microbial Genomics.

Questions - Shigella - Distinct - End - Answer

"One of the questions we asked was, genetically, are the domestic Shigella distinct from those that are coming internationally and, in the end, the answer was, no, they are not distinct—there doesn't appear to be any stratification based on genetic relatedness," said Edward Dudley, professor of food science at Penn State and associate of the Institute for CyberScience, which provides Penn State researchers access to supercomputing resources.

Because different strains of Shigella may require certain treatments, identifying the correct type of Shigella in a timely fashion could give public health officials a critical head start on both informing the public about the outbreak and alerting medical staff on best treatment options, according to Dudley, who is also the director of the E. coli Reference Center and associated with Penn State's Huck Institutes of Life Sciences. Comparing Shigella samples during an outbreak could also give health officials the ability to identify possible sources of the disease, as well as help them monitor its progress and warn officials in locations that might lie in the outbreak's path.

Study - Species - Shigella - Lineages - Signatures

"In this study, with this particular species of Shigella, there were known to be five different lineages and we identified signatures in the genomes of these organisms that allow us to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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