Whole genome sequencing data used for surveillance of Campylobacter infections: detection of a large continuous outbreak, Denmark, 2019

Katrine Grimstrup Joensen, Susanne Schjørring, Mette Rørbæk Gantzhorn, Camilla Thougaard Vester, Hans Linde Nielsen, Jørgen Harald Engberg, Hanne Marie Holt, Steen Ethelberg, Luise Müller, Gudrun Sandø, Eva Møller Nielsen

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Abstract

BackgroundCampylobacter is one of the most frequent causes of bacterial gastroenteritis. Campylobacter outbreaks are rarely reported, which could be a reflection of a surveillance without routine molecular typing. We have previously shown that numerous small outbreak-like clusters can be detected when whole genome sequencing (WGS) data of clinical Campylobacter isolates was applied.AimTyping-based surveillance of Campylobacter infections was initiated in 2019 to enable detection of large clusters of clinical isolates and to match them to concurrent retail chicken isolates in order to react on ongoing outbreaks.MethodsWe performed WGS continuously on isolates from cases (n = 701) and chicken meat (n = 164) throughout 2019. Core genome multilocus sequence typing was used to detect clusters of clinical isolates and match them to isolates from chicken meat.ResultsSeventy-two clusters were detected, 58 small clusters (2-4 cases) and 14 large clusters (5-91 cases). One third of the clinical isolates matched isolates from chicken meat. One large cluster persisted throughout the whole year and represented 12% of all studied Campylobacter cases. This cluster type was detected in several chicken samples and was traced back to one slaughterhouse, where interventions were implemented to control the outbreak.ConclusionOur WGS-based surveillance has contributed to an improved understanding of the dynamics of the occurrence of Campylobacter strains in chicken meat and the correlation to clusters of human cases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuro surveillance : bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin
Volume26
Issue number22
Number of pages8
ISSN1025-496X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Campylobacter
  • one health
  • outbreak
  • surveillance
  • whole genome sequencing

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