Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
N Engl J Med. 2011 Feb 24;364(8):730-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1003176.

Whole-genome sequencing and social-network analysis of a tuberculosis outbreak.

Author information

  • 1British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Erratum in

  • N Engl J Med. 2011 Jun 2;364(22):2174.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

An outbreak of tuberculosis occurred over a 3-year period in a medium-size community in British Columbia, Canada. The results of mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit-variable-number tandem-repeat (MIRU-VNTR) genotyping suggested the outbreak was clonal. Traditional contact tracing did not identify a source. We used whole-genome sequencing and social-network analysis in an effort to describe the outbreak dynamics at a higher resolution.

METHODS:

We sequenced the complete genomes of 32 Mycobacterium tuberculosis outbreak isolates and 4 historical isolates (from the same region but sampled before the outbreak) with matching genotypes, using short-read sequencing. Epidemiologic and genomic data were overlaid on a social network constructed by means of interviews with patients to determine the origins and transmission dynamics of the outbreak.

RESULTS:

Whole-genome data revealed two genetically distinct lineages of M. tuberculosis with identical MIRU-VNTR genotypes, suggesting two concomitant outbreaks. Integration of social-network and phylogenetic analyses revealed several transmission events, including those involving "superspreaders." Both lineages descended from a common ancestor and had been detected in the community before the outbreak, suggesting a social, rather than genetic, trigger. Further epidemiologic investigation revealed that the onset of the outbreak coincided with a recorded increase in crack cocaine use in the community.

CONCLUSIONS:

Through integration of large-scale bacterial whole-genome sequencing and social-network analysis, we show that a socioenvironmental factor--most likely increased crack cocaine use--triggered the simultaneous expansion of two extant lineages of M. tuberculosis that was sustained by key members of a high-risk social network. Genotyping and contact tracing alone did not capture the true dynamics of the outbreak. (Funded by Genome British Columbia and others.).

PMID:
21345102
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon Icon for Faculty of 1000
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk