1887

Abstract

Prosthetic joint infections (PJIs) are challenging to treat therapeutically because the infectious agents often are resistant to antibiotics and capable of abundant growth in surface-attached biofilms. Though infection rates are low, ca. 1–2 %, the overall increase in the sheer number of joint replacement surgeries results in an increase in patients at risk.

This study investigates the consensus of microbial species comprising PJI ecology, which is currently lacking.

In this study, PJI populations from seven patients were analysed using combined culturing and whole-genome shotgun sequencing (WGSS) to establish population profiles and compare WGSS and culture methods for detection and identification of the PJI microbiome.

WGSS detected strains when culture did not, notably dormant, culture-resistant and rare microbes. The CosmosID algorithm was used to predict micro-organisms present in the PJI and discriminate contaminants. However, culturing indicated the presence of microbes falling below the WGSS algorithm threshold. In these instances, microbes cultured are believed to be minor species. The two strategies were combined to build a population profile.

Variability between and among PJIs showed that most infections were distinct and unique. Comparative analysis of populations revealed PJIs to form clusters that were related to, but separate from, vaginal, skin and gut microbiomes. Fungi and protists were detected by WGSS, but the role of fungi is just beginning to be understood and for protists it is unknown. These micro-organisms and their novel and strain-specific microbial interactions remain to be determined in current clinical tests.

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2019-08-28
2019-09-22
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