8,703 research outputs found

    Metabolic characteristics and genomic epidemiology of Escherichia coli serogroup O145 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Microbiology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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    Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a global public health concern, and can cause severe human disease. Ruminants are asymptomatic reservoirs of STEC, shedding this pathogen via their faeces. There is ‘zero tolerance’ for the Top 7 STEC serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145 and O157) in ground beef products exported to the USA. STEC may contaminate carcasses during processing and therefore are a major regulatory concern for New Zealand’s meat industry. A previous study investigating the prevalence of STEC in young calves (n=1508) throughout New Zealand identified STEC O145 as the most prevalent serogroup (43%) at the dairy farm level compared to the other Top 7 serogroups. This high prevalence underlines STEC O145 as a public health concern and an issue for the meat industry. Current culture-based methods for STEC detection are not fully discriminatory due to the lack of consistent differential characteristics between STEC and non-pathogenic E. coli. This study aims to (i) investigate metabolic characteristics of E. coli O145 to facilitate the differential culture of this serogroup and (ii) understand the genomic epidemiology of E. coli O145 using whole genome sequencing (WGS). E. coli O145 strains examined in this study were genetically and metabolically diverse, according to carbon utilisation. The metabolic and genomic analyses were unable to differentiate between stx-positive and stx-negative O145 strains and there was no association with isolation source. However, clustering of O145 strains was observed according to multi-locus sequence type and at the level of eae subtype, a gene encoding the protein intimin which is involved in bacterial attachment to intestinal epithelial cells. Carbon substrates such as D-serine and D-malic acid were identified as candidate metabolites to differentiate defined O145 sequence types and may assist with identification in conjunction with currently available molecular methods. This research has demonstrated the genetic heterogeneity of serogroup O145 and has made significant progress in the identification of metabolites that may prove beneficial in the development of a differential media for certain subsets of serogroup O145. Such a medium would prove a valuable tool for maintaining and monitoring public health and providing food quality and safety assurances that New Zealand meat for export is free of this pathogen

    Clonal analysis of meningococci during a 26 year period prior to the introduction of meningococcal serogroup C vaccines

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    Meningococcal disease remains a public health burden in the UK and elsewhere. Invasive Neisseria meningitidis, isolated in Scotland between 1972 and 1998, were characterised retrospectively to examine the serogroup and clonal structure of the circulating population. 2607 isolates causing invasive disease were available for serogroup and MLST analysis whilst 2517 were available for multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis only. Serogroup distribution changed from year to year but serogroups B and C were dominant throughout. Serogroup B was dominant throughout the 1970s and early 1980s until serogroup C became dominant during the mid-1980s. The increase in serogroup C was not associated with one particular sequence type (ST) but was associated with a number of STs, including ST-8, ST-11, ST-206 and ST-334. This is in contrast to the increase in serogroup C disease seen in the 1990s that was due to expansion of the ST-11 clonal complex. While there was considerable diversity among the isolates (309 different STs among the 2607 isolates), a large proportion of isolates (59.9%) were associated with only 10 STs. These data highlight meningococcal diversity over time and the need for ongoing surveillance during the introduction of new meningococcal vaccines

    Development of Multi-Locus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis for Outbreak Detection of Neisseria meningitidis

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    Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of septicemia and meningitis worldwide. Traditional typing methods like pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) for identifying outbreaks are subjective and time consuming. Multi-locus variable number tandem repeats analysis (MLVA) is an objective typing method amenable to automation that has been used to type other bacterial pathogens. This report describes the development of MLVA for outbreak detection of N. meningitidis. Tandem Repeats Finder software was used to identify variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) from 3 sequenced N. meningitidis genomes. PCR amplification of identified VNTRs was performed on DNA from 7 serogroup representative isolates. PCR products were sequenced and repeats were manually counted. VNTR loci identified by this screen were evaluated on a collection of 46 outbreak and sporadic serogroup C isolates. Alleles at each locus were concatenated to define the MLVA type for each isolate. Minimum spanning tree (MST) analysis was performed to determine the genetic relationships among the isolates. The genetic distance was defined as the summed tandem repeat difference (STRD) between isolates MLVA types. Outbreak clusters were defined by a STRD less than or equal to 3. These data was compared to PFGE data to determine the utility of MLVA for outbreak detection. Twenty-one VNTR loci with variable copy numbers among the sequenced genomes were identified that met the established criteria of short repeat length and consensus sequence > 85%. Seven VNTR loci were reliably amplified among the 7 serogroups tested. These loci had repeat lengths between 4 and 20 nucleotides and exhibited between 10 and 26 alleles among 61 isolates belonging to 7 different serogroups. MST analysis with 7 loci differentiated serogroups, discriminated sporadic isolates and identified 7 out of 8 serogroup C outbreaks. In summary, MLVA with 5 VNTR loci distinguished N. meningitidis isolates from 7 different serogroups and sporadic isolates within each serogroup. In addition, MLVA identified 88% of PFGE-defined serogroup C outbreaks. Further investigation of these and other outbreak-associated isolates is necessary to define the optimal combination of VNTR loci and to evaluate MST analysis criteria in order to determine the utility of MLVA for N. meningitidis outbreak detection

    Field evaluation of two rapid diagnostic tests for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A during the 2006 outbreak in Niger.

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    The Pastorex((R)) (BioRad) rapid agglutination test is one of the main rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for meningococcal disease currently in use in the "meningitis belt". Earlier evaluations, performed after heating and centrifugation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, under good laboratory conditions, showed high sensitivity and specificity. However, during an epidemic, the test may be used without prior sample preparation. Recently a new, easy-to-use dipstick RDT for meningococcal disease detection on CSF was developed by the Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire in Niger and the Pasteur Institute in France. We estimate diagnostic accuracy in the field during the 2006 outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A in Maradi, Niger, for the dipstick RDT and Pastorex((R)) on unprepared CSF, (a) by comparing each test's sensitivity and specificity with previously reported values; and (b) by comparing results for each test on paired samples, using McNemar's test. We also (c) estimate diagnostic accuracy of the dipstick RDT on diluted whole blood. We tested unprepared CSF and diluted whole blood from 126 patients with suspected meningococcal disease presenting at four health posts. (a) Pastorex((R)) sensitivity (69%; 95%CI 57-79) was significantly lower than found previously for prepared CSF samples [87% (81-91); or 88% (85-91)], as was specificity [81% (95%CI 68-91) vs 93% (90-95); or 93% (87-96)]. Sensitivity of the dipstick RDT [89% (95%CI 80-95)] was similar to previously reported values for ideal laboratory conditions [89% (84-93) and 94% (90-96)]. Specificity, at 62% (95%CI 48-75), was significantly lower than found previously [94% (92-96) and 97% (94-99)]. (b) McNemar's test for the dipstick RDT vs Pastorex((R)) was statistically significant (p<0.001). (c) The dipstick RDT did not perform satisfactorily on diluted whole blood (sensitivity 73%; specificity 57%).Sensitivity and specificity of Pastorex((R)) without prior CSF preparation were poorer than previously reported results from prepared samples; therefore we caution against using this test during an epidemic if sample preparation is not possible. For the dipstick RDT, sensitivity was similar to, while specificity was not as high as previously reported during a more stable context. Further studies are needed to evaluate its field performance, especially for different populations and other serogroups

    Invasive meningococcal disease in the Veneto region of Italy: A capture-recapture analysis for assessing the effectiveness of an integrated surveillance system

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    open8noBACKGROUND: Epidemiology of Neisseria meningitidis has been changing since the introduction of universal vaccination programmes against meningococcal serogroup C (MenC) and meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) has now become dominant. This study aimed to analyse the cases reported in institutional data recording systems to estimate the burden of invasive meningococcal diseases (IMDs) and assess the effectiveness of surveillance in Veneto region (Italy). METHODS: Analysis was performed from 2007 to 2014 on data recorded in different systems: Mandatory Notification System, National Surveillance of Invasive Bacterial Diseases System and Laboratories Surveillance System (LSS), which were pooled into a combined surveillance system (CSS) and hospital discharge records (HDRs). A capture-recapture method was used and completeness of each source estimated. Number of cases with IMD by source of information and year, incidence of IMD by age group, case fatality rate (CFR) and distribution of meningococcal serogroups by year were also analysed. RESULTS: Combining the four data systems enabled the identification of 179 confirmed cases with IMD, achieving an overall sensitivity of 94.7% (95% CI: 90.8% to 98.8%), while it was 76.7% (95% CI: 73.6% to 80.1%) for CSS and 77.2% (95% CI: 74.1% to 80.6%) for HDRs. Typing of isolates was done in 80% of cases, and 95.2% of the typed cases were provided by LSS. Serogroup B was confirmed in 50.3% of cases. The estimated IMD notification rate (cases with IMD diagnosed and reported to the surveillance systems) was 0.48/100 000 population, and incidence peaked at 6.2/100 000 in children aged <1 year old (60.9% due to MenB), and increased slightly in the age group between 15 and 19 years (1.1/100 000). A CFR of 14% was recorded (8.7% in paediatric age). CONCLUSIONS: Quality of surveillance systems relies on case ascertainment based on serological characterisation of the circulating strains by microbiology laboratories. All available sources should be routinely combined to improve the epidemiology of IMD and the information used by public health departments to conduct timely preventive measures.openBaldovin, Tatjana; Lazzari, Roberta; Cocchio, Silvia; Furlan, Patrizia; Bertoncello, Chiara; Saia, Mario; Russo, Francesca; Baldo, VincenzoBaldovin, Tatjana; Lazzari, Roberta; Cocchio, Silvia; Furlan, Patrizia; Bertoncello, Chiara; Saia, Mario; Russo, Francesca; Baldo, Vincenz

    Systems Biology and Pangenome of Salmonella O-Antigens.

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    O-antigens are glycopolymers in lipopolysaccharides expressed on the cell surface of Gram-negative bacteria. Variability in the O-antigen structure constitutes the basis for the establishment of the serotyping schema. We pursued a two-pronged approach to define the basis for O-antigen structural diversity. First, we developed a bottom-up systems biology approach to O-antigen metabolism by building a reconstruction of Salmonella O-antigen biosynthesis and used it to (i) update 410 existing Salmonella strain-specific metabolic models, (ii) predict a strain's serogroup and its O-antigen glycan synthesis capability (yielding 98% agreement with experimental data), and (iii) extend our workflow to more than 1,400 Gram-negative strains. Second, we used a top-down pangenome analysis to elucidate the genetic basis for intraserogroup O-antigen structural variations. We assembled a database of O-antigen gene islands from over 11,000 sequenced Salmonella strains, revealing (i) that gene duplication, pseudogene formation, gene deletion, and bacteriophage insertion elements occur ubiquitously across serogroups; (ii) novel serotypes in the group O:4 B2 variant, as well as an additional genotype variant for group O:4, and (iii) two novel O-antigen gene islands in understudied subspecies. We thus comprehensively defined the genetic basis for O-antigen diversity.IMPORTANCE Lipopolysaccharides are a major component of the outer membrane in Gram-negative bacteria. They are composed of a conserved lipid structure that is embedded in the outer leaflet of the outer membrane and a polysaccharide known as the O-antigen. O-antigens are highly variable in structure across strains of a species and are crucial to a bacterium's interactions with its environment. They constitute the first line of defense against both the immune system and bacteriophage infections and have been shown to mediate antimicrobial resistance. The significance of our research is in identifying the metabolic and genetic differences within and across O-antigen groups in Salmonella strains. Our effort constitutes a first step toward characterizing the O-antigen metabolic network across Gram-negative organisms and a comprehensive overview of genetic variations in Salmonella

    Yersinia enterocolitica in Italy. A case of septicemia and abdominal aortic aneurysm infection

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    We report a case of Yersinia enterocolitica septicemia in a 63-year-old patient admitted to the Vascular Surgery Department of Umberto I Hospital (Rome, Italy) for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The microorganism, recovered from both peripheral blood cultures and aneurysmatic aortic wall specimens, was identified as Y. enterocolitica using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight analysis (MALDI-TOF MS) and 16S rDNA gene sequencing. The isolate responsible for septicemia belonged to the O:9 serotype (biogroup 2). A genetic screening of the isolate made it possible to detect the presence of both the yst and ail genes, encoding a heat-stable enterotoxin and a protein involved in invasion/adherence and serum resistance, respectively. Our case contributes in enriching epidemiological data concerning Y. enterocolitica infections, which might represent severe complications in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, this study, together with the others, should be regarded as valuable and useful tools for monitoring the rate of infections worldwide

    Comparison of the estimated incidence of acute leptospirosis in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania between 2007-08 and 2012-14

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    Background: The sole report of annual leptospirosis incidence in continental Africa of 75–102 cases per 100,000 population is from a study performed in August 2007 through September 2008 in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. To evaluate the stability of this estimate over time, we estimated the incidence of acute leptospirosis in Kilimanjaro Region, northern Tanzania for the time period 2012–2014. Methodology and Principal Findings: Leptospirosis cases were identified among febrile patients at two sentinel hospitals in the Kilimanjaro Region. Leptospirosis was diagnosed by serum microscopic agglutination testing using a panel of 20 Leptospira serovars belonging to 17 separate serogroups. Serum was taken at enrolment and patients were asked to return 4–6 weeks later to provide convalescent serum. Confirmed cases required a 4-fold rise in titre and probable cases required a single titre of ≥800. Findings from a healthcare utilisation survey were used to estimate multipliers to adjust for cases not seen at sentinel hospitals. We identified 19 (1.7%) confirmed or probable cases among 1,115 patients who presented with a febrile illness. Of cases, the predominant reactive serogroups were Australis 8 (42.1%), Sejroe 3 (15.8%), Grippotyphosa 2 (10.5%), Icterohaemorrhagiae 2 (10.5%), Pyrogenes 2 (10.5%), Djasiman 1 (5.3%), Tarassovi 1 (5.3%). We estimated that the annual incidence of leptospirosis was 11–18 cases per 100,000 population. This was a significantly lower incidence than 2007–08 (p&lt;0.001). Conclusions: We estimated a much lower incidence of acute leptospirosis than previously, with a notable absence of cases due to the previously predominant serogroup Mini. Our findings indicate a dynamic epidemiology of leptospirosis in this area and highlight the value of multi-year surveillance to understand leptospirosis epidemiology

    Cocirculation of Hajj and non-Hajj strains among serogroup W meningococci in Italy, 2000 to 2016

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    In Italy, B and C are the predominant serogroups among meningococci causing invasive diseases. Nevertheless, in the period from 2013 to 2016, an increase in serogroup W Neisseria meningitidis (MenW) was observed. This study intends to define the main characteristics of 63 MenW isolates responsible of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in Italy from 2000 to 2016. We performed whole genome sequencing on bacterial isolates or single gene sequencing on culturenegative samples to evaluate molecular heterogeneity. Our main finding was the cocirculation of the Hajj and the South American sublineages belonging to MenW/ clonal complex (cc)11, which gradually surpassed the MenW/cc22 in Italy. All MenW/cc11 isolates were fully susceptible to cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin, penicillin G and rifampicin. We identified the fulllength NadA protein variant 2/3, present in all the MenW/cc11. We also identified the fHbp variant 1, which we found exclusively in the MenW/cc11/Hajj sublineage. Concern about the epidemic potential of MenW/cc11 has increased worldwide since the year 2000. Continued surveillance, supported by genomic characterisation, allows high-resolution tracking of pathogen dissemination and the detection of epidemicassociated strains
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