The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10096-017-2905-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
S. Asner and G. Greub contributed equally to this work.
Outbreaks of Streptococcus pyogenes hypervirulent clones are constant public health threats. In western Switzerland, an increase of severe cases of S. pyogenes invasive infections was observed between December 2015 and March 2016. Our aim was (i) to investigate these cases by the use of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and (ii) to determine the specific virulome and resistome of each isolate in order to undertake adequate public health measures. Eleven Streptococcus pyogenes strains isolated from 11 patients with severe invasive infections between December 13, 2015 and March 12, 2016 were included in our study. Practically, emm-typing, MLST and WGS were used to investigate the relatedness between the isolates. The presence of virulence and antibiotic resistance genes as well as mutations in transcriptional regulators of virulence and in genes encoding for antibiotic targets were assessed. Three and two groups of isolates shared the same emm-type and ST type, respectively. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) analysis revealed 14 to 32 SNPs between the strains of the same emm-type group, ruling out the possibility of a clonal outbreak. Mutations found in covS and rocA could partially explain an increased virulence. As these reassuring results were obtained in less than 10 days, no specific hospital hygiene and no dedicated public health measures had to be undertaken. WGS is a powerful technique to discriminate between closely related strains, excluding an outbreak in less than 10 days. Moreover, WGS provided extensive data on the virulome and resistome of all these strains.
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- Importance of whole genome sequencing for the assessment of outbreaks in diagnostic laboratories: analysis of a case series of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections
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