Pseudomonas aeruginosa intensive care unit outbreak: winnowing of transmissions with molecular and genomic typing

Benjamin J. Parcell (Lead / Corresponding author), Katarina Oravcova, Miguel Pinheiro, Matthew T. G. Holden, Gabby Phillips, Jane F. Turton, Stephen H. Gillespie

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    30 Citations (Scopus)
    271 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Pseudomonas aeruginosa healthcare outbreaks can be time consuming and difficult to investigate. Guidance does not specify which typing technique is most practical for decision-making. Aim: To explore the usefulness of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) in the investigation of a P. aeruginosa outbreak, describing how it compares with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis. Methods: Six patient isolates and six environmental samples from an intensive care unit (ICU) positive for P. aeruginosa over two years underwent VNTR, PFGE and WGS. Findings: VNTR and PFGE were required to fully determine the potential source of infection and rule out others. WGS results unambiguously distinguished linked isolates, giving greater assurance of the transmission route between wash-hand basin water and two patients, supporting the control measures employed. Conclusion: WGS provided detailed information without the need for further typing. When allied to epidemiological information, WGS can be used to understand outbreak situations rapidly and with certainty. Implementation of WGS in real-time would be a major advance in day-to-day practice. It could become a standard of care as it becomes more widespread due to its reproducibility and lower costs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)282-288
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
    Issue number3
    Early online date8 Dec 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


    • Journal article
    • Sequencing
    • Pseudomonas
    • Resistance
    • Outbreak
    • Water
    • Pseudomonas spp.
    • Resistance
    • Outbreak
    • Sequencing
    • Intensive Care Units
    • Humans
    • Pseudomonas Infections/epidemiology
    • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
    • Minisatellite Repeats
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa/classification
    • Molecular Typing/methods
    • Molecular Epidemiology
    • Disease Outbreaks
    • Cross Infection/epidemiology
    • Whole Genome Sequencing/methods
    • Disease Transmission, Infectious

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Microbiology (medical)
    • Infectious Diseases


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