Evaluation of WGS based approaches for investigating a food-borne outbreak caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Derby in Germany.
In Germany salmonellosis still represents the 2nd most common bacterial foodborne disease. The majority of infections are caused by Salmonella (S.) Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis followed by a variety of other broad host-range serovars. Salmonella Derby is one of the five top-ranked serovars isolated from humans and it represents one of the most prevalent serovars in pigs, thus bearing the potential risk for transmission to humans upon consumption of pig meat and products thereof. From November 2013 to January 2014 S. Derby caused a large outbreak that affected 145 primarily elderly people. Epidemiological investigations identified raw pork sausage as the probable source of infection, which was confirmed by microbiological evidence. During the outbreak isolates from patients, food specimen and asymptomatic carriers were investigated by conventional typing methods. However, the quantity and quality of available microbiological and epidemiological data made this outbreak highly suitable for retrospective investigation by Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and subsequent evaluation of different bioinformatics approaches for cluster definition. Overall the WGS-based methods confirmed the results of the conventional typing but were of significant higher discriminatory power. That was particularly beneficial for strains with incomplete epidemiological data. For our data set both, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)- and core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST)-based methods proved to be appropriate tools for cluster definition.
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