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J Clin Microbiol. 2018 Oct 25;56(11). pii: e00831-18. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00831-18. Print 2018 Nov.

Evaluation of Whole-Genome Sequencing for Identification and Typing of Vibrio cholerae.

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National Infection Services, Public Health England, London, United Kingdom.
National Public Health Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Singapore, Singapore.
School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom.
National Infection Services, Public Health England, London, United Kingdom


Epidemiological and microbiological data on Vibrio cholerae strains isolated between April 2004 and March 2018 (n = 836) and held at the Public Health England culture archive were reviewed. The traditional biochemical species identification and serological typing results were compared with the genome-derived species identification and serotype for a subset of isolates (n = 152). Of the 836 isolates, 750 (89.7%) were from a fecal specimen, 206 (24.6%) belonged to serogroup O1, and 7 (0.8%) were serogroup O139; 792 (94.7%) isolates were from patients reporting recent travel abroad, most commonly to India (n = 209) and Pakistan (n = 104). Of the 152 V. cholerae isolates identified by use of kmer, 149 (98.1%) were concordant with those identified using the traditional biochemical approach. Traditional serotyping results were 100% concordant with those of the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis for the identification of serogroups O1 and O139 and classical and El Tor biotypes. ctxA was detected in all isolates of V. cholerae O1 El Tor and O139 belonging to sequence type 69 (ST69) and in V. cholerae O1 classical variants belonging to ST73. A phylogeny of isolates belonging to ST69 from U.K. travelers clustered geographically, with isolates from India and Pakistan located on separate branches. Moving forward, WGS data from U.K. travelers will contribute to global surveillance programs and the monitoring of emerging threats to public health and the global dissemination of pathogenic lineages. At the national level, these WGS data will inform the timely reinforcement of direct public health messaging to travelers and mitigate the impact of imported infections and the associated risks to public health.


Vibrio cholerae; global surveillance; public health; whole-genome sequencing

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