Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
qPCR
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Genome Sequencing Tracks Bacterial Outbreak

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Last year, a deadly outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria kept NIH’s Clinical Center in a state of high alert.

NIH staff used genome sequencing to track the microbes' spread, an approach that can be used to help control similar outbreaks in the future.

In June 2011, a severely ill 43-year-old woman was transferred from a hospital in New York to the NIH Clinical Center, a 243-bed research hospital on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The medical staff knew she was infected with bacteria that were resistant to multiple antibiotics, so she was put in isolation immediately. Additional precautions were taken to keep the bacteria away from other patients.

After a month in the hospital, the woman was discharged and never came in contact with another patient. But a few weeks after she left, the same kind of infection was found in 2 other patients. Infections were discovered over the next 4 months at the rate of about 1 a week. Klebsiella pneumoniae, the bacteria responsible for the outbreak, is a growing threat in health care facilities, primarily affecting patients with compromised immune systems.

The Clinical Center staff teamed up with researchers from NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to figure out how the infection was spreading. The team sequenced the DNA of bacteria taken from each of the 18 patients. Having the complete sequences let the scientists see every detail of the bacteria's genetic code. Their report appeared in the August 22, 2012, issue of Science Translational Medicine.

The researchers found that the K. pneumoniae going around the Clinical Center originated with the patient from New York. Tiny differences revealed that the bacteria were transmitted to other patients on at least 3 separate occasions, creating 2 main groups of infected patients. The bacteria came from at least 2 different parts of the original patient's body.

As the outbreak continued, the infection-control team employed increasingly intensive strategies to stop the bacteria. They used a vapor of hydrogen peroxide to sanitize rooms and removed sink drains where K. pneumoniae had been detected. Hospital staff and equipment were dedicated to the sole care of infected patients.

The patient from New York was treated with the help of colistin, an older, toxic antibiotic considered a drug of last resort. But 11 of the patients died—6 from the infection and 5 from their underlying diseases.

The researchers say other hospitals will be able to use this approach to better understand the infections they are battling. “This study makes it clear that genome sequencing, as it becomes more affordable and rapid, will become a critical tool for healthcare epidemiology in the future,” says Dr. David Henderson, deputy director for clinical care at the NIH Clinical Center.

“Genomic data can identify unexpected modes of transmission,” says NHGRI senior investigator Dr. Julie Segre. “Though the transmission path is difficult to detect, the genomic data is indisputable.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

A New Role for Zebrafish: Larger Scale Gene Function Studies
A relatively new method of targeting specific DNA sequences in zebrafish could dramatically accelerate the discovery of gene function and the identification of disease genes in humans.
Monday, June 08, 2015
NIH Funds Nine Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostics Projects
Investigators to develop tools to detect hospital-associated pathogens.
Friday, April 10, 2015
NIH Deposits First Batch of Genomic Data for Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers can now freely access the first batch of genome sequence data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP).
Monday, December 02, 2013
Toddler 'Functionally Cured' of HIV infection, NIH-Supported Investigators Report
Discovery provides clues for potentially eliminating HIV infection in other children.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Scientific News
New Method Promises to Speed Development of Food Crops
A new study addresses a central challenge of transgenic plant development: how to reliably evaluate whether genetic material has been successfully introduced.
Study Validates Analysis of Copy Number Variation in Miniaturized Reaction Volumes
Data shows that accurate and reproducible CNV results can be produced with IntelliQube using the Array Tape® consumable.
Faster Drug Discovery?
Startup develops more cost-effective test for assessing how cells respond to chemicals.
Edited Stem Cells Offer Hope of Precision Therapy for Blindness
Findings raise the possibility of treating blinding eye diseases using a patient's own corrected cells as replacement tissue.
Parallel Single-Cell Profiling
New single-cell genomics protocol allows researchers to study links between DNA modifications (methylation) and the activity of a gene.
Pathogens Found in Iceman's Gut
Scientists discover Helicobacter pylori in the contents of Ötzi’s stomach along with some unexpected insights into the coexistence of man and bacterium.
Diagnosing Cancer from a Single Drop of Blood
What if a physician could effectively diagnose cancer from one drop of a patient’s blood?
Tracing a Cellular Family Tree
New technique allows tracking of gene expression over generations of cells as they specialize.
Accelerating Protein Evolution
A new tool enables researchers to test millions of mutated proteins in a matter of hours or days, speeding the search for new medicines, industrial enzymes and biosensors.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!