The Utility of Whole-Genome Sequencing for Bacterial Strain Typing in Hospital Outbreaks

Project: Research project

Project Details


The timely and accurate identification of a potential nosocomial outbreak is critical to hospital infection control and patient safety. Conventional approaches for distinguishing bacterial isolates when tracking hospital outbreaks have a number of limitations. As whole genome sequencing has become faster and cheaper, it has emerged as a potentially superior option for genotyping bacterial isolates. This technique has been used on an investigational basis at some academic medical centers to characterize outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus and carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae. We propose to evaluate the utility of whole genome sequencing in the investigation of hospital transmission of Acinetobacter baumannii (AB), a common cause of nosocomial outbreaks, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH). We will perform a variety of conventional molecular typing techniques and whole genome sequencing on a banked collection of AB blood isolates. For each approach, we will generate phylogenetic trees representing the genetic relatedness of these isolates, and we will compare these trees to determine their level of agreement. In addition, using clinical data from source patients, we will compare each technique’s predictions for which patients may have been involved in an outbreak.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/14


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Exhibit B.21)


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