Time to review the gold standard for genotyping vancomycin-resistant enterococci in epidemiology: Comparing whole-genome sequencing with PFGE and MLST in three suspected outbreaks in Sweden during 2013-2015.

Lytsy B, Engstrand L, Gustafsson Å, Kaden R

Infect. Genet. Evol. 54 (-) 74-80 [2017-10-00; online 2017-06-15]

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are a challenge to the health-care system regarding transmission rate and treatment of infections. VRE outbreaks have to be controlled from the first cases which means that appropriate and sensitive genotyping methods are needed. The aim of this study was to investigate the applicability of whole genome sequencing based analysis compared to Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) and Multi-Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) in epidemiological investigations as well as the development of a user friendly method for daily laboratory use. Out of 14,000 VRE - screening samples, a total of 60 isolates positive for either vanA or vanB gene were isolated of which 38 were from patients with epidemiological links from three suspected outbreaks at Uppsala University Hospital. The isolates were genotypically characterised with PFGE, MLST, and WGS based core genome Average Nucleotide Identity analysis (cgANI). PFGE was compared to WGS and MLST regarding reliability, resolution, and applicability capacity. The PFGE analysis of the 38 isolates confirmed the epidemiological investigation that three outbreaks had occurred but gave an unclear picture for the largest cluster. The WGS analysis could clearly distinguish six ANI clusters for those 38 isolates. As result of the comparison of the investigated methods, we recommend WGS-ANI analysis for epidemiological issues with VRE. The recommended threshold for Enterococcus faecium VRE outbreak strain delineation with core genome based ANI is 98.5%. All referred sequences of this study are available from the NCBI BioProject number PRJNA301929.

Affiliated researcher

PubMed 28627467

DOI 10.1016/j.meegid.2017.06.010

Crossref 10.1016/j.meegid.2017.06.010

pii: S1567-1348(17)30197-1

Publications 7.1.2