• PulseNet International: Vision for the implementation of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for global food-borne disease surveillance.

      Nadon, Celine; Van Walle, Ivo; Gerner-Smidt, Peter; Campos, Josefina; Chinen, Isabel; Concepcion-Acevedo, Jeniffer; Gilpin, Brent; Smith, Anthony M; Man Kam, Kai; Perez, Enrique; Trees, Eija; Kubota, Kristy; Takkinen, Johanna; Nielsen, Eva Møller; Carleton, Heather (2017)
      PulseNet International is a global network dedicated to laboratory-based surveillance for food-borne diseases. The network comprises the national and regional laboratory networks of Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the United States. The PulseNet International vision is the standardised use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to identify and subtype food-borne bacterial pathogens worldwide, replacing traditional methods to strengthen preparedness and response, reduce global social and economic disease burden, and save lives. To meet the needs of real-time surveillance, the PulseNet International network will standardise subtyping via WGS using whole genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST), which delivers sufficiently high resolution and epidemiological concordance, plus unambiguous nomenclature for the purposes of surveillance. Standardised protocols, validation studies, quality control programmes, database and nomenclature development, and training should support the implementation and decentralisation of WGS. Ideally, WGS data collected for surveillance purposes should be publicly available, in real time where possible, respecting data protection policies. WGS data are suitable for surveillance and outbreak purposes and for answering scientific questions pertaining to source attribution, antimicrobial resistance, transmission patterns, and virulence, which will further enable the protection and improvement of public health with respect to food-borne disease.
    • Retrospective validation of whole genome sequencing-enhanced surveillance of listeriosis in Europe, 2010 to 2015.

      Van Walle, Ivo; Björkman, Jonas Torgny; Cormican, Martin; Dallman, Timothy; Mossong, Joël; Moura, Alexandra; Pietzka, Ariane; Ruppitsch, Werner; Takkinen, Johanna (2018)
      Background and aimThe trend in reported case counts of invasive Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), a potentially severe food-borne disease, has been increasing since 2008. In 2015, 2,224 cases were reported in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA). We aimed to validate the microbiological and epidemiological aspects of an envisaged EU/EEA-wide surveillance system enhanced by routine whole genome sequencing (WGS). Methods: WGS and core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) were performed on isolates from 2,726 cases from 27 EU/EEA countries from 2010-15. Results: Quality controls for contamination, mixed Lm cultures and sequence quality classified nearly all isolates with a minimum average coverage of the genome of 55x as acceptable for analysis. Assessment of the cgMLST variation between six different pipelines revealed slightly less variation associated with assembly-based analysis compared to reads-based analysis. Epidemiological concordance, based on 152 isolates from 19 confirmed outbreaks and a cluster cutoff of seven allelic differences, was good (sensitivity > 95% for two cgMLST schemes of 1,748 and 1,701 loci each; PPV 58‒68%). The proportion of sporadic cases was slightly below 50%. Of remaining isolates, around one third were in clusters involving more than one country, often spanning several years. Detection of multi-country clusters was on average several months earlier when pooling the data at EU/EEA level, compared with first detection at national level. Conclusions: These findings provide a good basis for comprehensive EU/EEA-wide, WGS-enhanced surveillance of listeriosis. Time limits should not be used for hypothesis generation during outbreak investigations, but should be for analytical studies.