DNA sequencing of MRSA used to stop outbreak

DNA sequencing of MRSA used to stop outbreak

An outbreak of the hospital superbug MRSA has been brought to an end by UK doctors cracking the bacterium's genetic code.

It led to them finding one member of staff at Rosie Hospital, in Cambridge, who may have unwittingly carried and spread the infection.

They say it is the first time rapid genetic testing has been used to track and then stop an outbreak.

One expert said this would soon become "standard practice" in hospitals.

Doctors were concerned after MRSA was detected in 12 babies during routine screening.

However, current tests could not tell if it was one single outbreak being spread around the unit or if they were separate cases being brought into the hospital. About one in 100 people carry MRSA on their skin without any health problems.

To find out, researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Sanger Institute embarked on more sophisticated version of a paternity test.

They compared the entire genetic code of MRSA bugs from each baby to build a family tree. It showed they were all closely related and part of the same outbreak.

After two months without a case and deep cleaning the ward, another case appeared. Analysing the DNA showed that it was again part of the outbreak and attention turned to a carrier.

Tests on 154 members of staff showed that one was also carrying MRSA, which may have been spread to babies in the unit. They were treated to remove the infection.

"We believe this brought the outbreak to a close," said Dr Julian Parkhill, from the Sanger Institute.

"This is really exciting for us because it gave the hospital the opportunity to intervene.

"We think this is the first case where whole genome sequencing has actually led to a clinical intervention and brought the outbreak to a close."



Bacterial DNA was analysed

The study was published in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.


The cost of working out the entire genetic code of a bacterium has plummeted from millions of pounds to about £50.

The time it takes has also fallen dramatically from months to hours.

Dr Parkhill said it could get even cheaper: "People are talking about the thousand dollar human genome.

"If you can do the human genome for a thousand dollars you can do a bacterial genome for one dollar."

Commenting on the research Prof Ross Fitzgerald, from the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, told the BBC: "The study clearly highlights the power of whole genome sequencing for resolving the source and the spread of an epidemic of hospital acquired infection such as MRSA.


"It will ultimately, within a small number of years, be standard practice for any hospital outbreak.

"I fully expect this to be rolled out as a standard approach in UK hospitals in the very near future."

Prof Sharon Peacock, from the University of Cambridge, said she wanted to develop a simple system that could be used easily by hospitals.

She said she envisioned a "black box" where the genetic sequence goes in and a simple report that can be used by hospital staff comes out.

"It could, for example, determine the species of the bacterium; it could determine antibiotic susceptibility, and it could provide information about what genes are present that are often associated with poor outcomes in patients."

Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "This is a dramatic demonstration that medical genomics is no longer a technology of the future - it is a technology of the here and now."



MRSA - or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus - is a bacterial infection that is resistant to a number of widely-used antibiotics.

People can carry the bug without health problems and it is spread by skin-to-skin contact or through contaminated objects such as bedding.

It can cause life-threatening infections if the bug breaches the skin, such as through a surgical wound.


source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20314024

WMC 2013


Welcome Message


On behalf of the Organising Committee, we would like to welcome you to the 7th World Melioidosis Congress 2013 , which will take place at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand during 18th to 20th September 2013. 

The 7th World Melioidosis Congress 2013 will assemble a great range of medical professionals. Its objective is to support linkage between experts from all around the world and to help them discussing, exchanging, and sharing their knowledge, experiences and opinions for mutual awareness of global threats from Melioidosis. 

Additionally, the medical professionals, experts and colleges will have a chance to visit Bangkok, which is one among top global tourist destinations. The oriental capital city has much more to show than its unique culture and exquisite architecture. Organising Committee also provides a variety of touring options to visit charming places in provinces in Thailand or even neighbour countries. 

Finally, we would like to warm welcome you to attend the 7th World Melioidosis Congress 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. This will be a worthwhile event to spend your time in Thailand. 

Dr. Wirongrong Chierakul 
Chairperson of Local Organising Committee

Antimicrobial Resistance 2013

4th to 6th February 2013


Le Meridien Hotel Bangkok, Thailand

Supported by the The British High Commission Singapore and FP funded SEA-EU-NET II project



Antimicrobial resistance represents one of the key health challenges of the 21st century. Concerted efforts will be crucial to reduce the existing socioeconomic burden of antimicrobial resistance. The primary objective of this meeting is to bring together researchers and clinicians involved in infectious diseases prevention and control. The meeting will take an integrated approach to research and will focus on a spectrum of diseases including parasitic, bacterial and viral diseases, disease pathogenesis and resistance, as well as novel approaches to new drugs for newly emerging infections. It will bring about researchers specializing in different disciplines including bacteriology,parasitology, virology, epidemiology, host genetics, immunology, structural biology, medicinal chemistry, and/or treatment and prevention strategies.



Confirmed Speakers: 


Simon Croft, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, UK

Drug mechanisms and resistance

Nick White, Mahidol Oxford Research Unit, Thailand

Drug resistance and challenges faced

Yongyuth Yuthavong, BIOTEC, Thailand

Malaria drug resistance

Thomas Dick, National University of Singapore, Singapore

TB drug resistance

Francois Clavel, Inserm, Institut Universitaire d'Hématologie (IUH), France

Mechanisms of HIV drug resistance

Surasakdi Wongratanacheewin, Khon Kaen University,Thailand

Melioidosis drug resistance

Erika Vlieghe, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium

Bacterial resistance surveillance and antibiotic stewardship

Somnuek Sungkanuparph, Mahidol University, Thailand

Epidemiology of HIV drug resistance

Timothy Walsh, Cardiff University, UK

Genetics of antimicrobial resistance

Charlie Yeo, Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, Malaysia

Alternative drugs to combat drug resistance

Julien Lescar, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Understanding drug resistance from the structural biology perspective

Heiman Wertheim, Oxford University Research Unit Hanoi, Vietnam

Antibiotic resistance

More information please visit: http://drugresistance2013.com/Home.html