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Abstract

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is becoming the de facto standard for bacterial typing and outbreak surveillance of resistant bacterial pathogens. However, interoperability for WGS of bacterial outbreaks is poorly understood. We hypothesized that harmonization of WGS for outbreak surveillance is achievable through the use of identical protocols for both data generation and data analysis. A set of 30 bacterial isolates, comprising of various species belonging to the family and genera, were selected and sequenced using the same protocol on the Illumina MiSeq platform in each individual centre. All generated sequencing data were analysed by one centre using BioNumerics (6.7.3) for (i) genotyping origin of replications and antimicrobial resistance genes, (ii) core-genome multi-locus sequence typing (cgMLST) for and and whole-genome multi-locus sequencing typing (wgMLST) for all species. Additionally, a split -mer analysis was performed to determine the number of SNPs between samples. A precision of 99.0% and an accuracy of 99.2% was achieved for genotyping. Based on cgMLST, a discrepant allele was called only in 2/27 and 3/15 comparisons between two genomes, for and respectively. Based on wgMLST, the number of discrepant alleles ranged from 0 to 7 (average 1.6). For SNPs, this ranged from 0 to 11 SNPs (average 3.4). Furthermore, we demonstrate that using different assemblers to analyse the same dataset introduces up to 150 SNPs, which surpasses most thresholds for bacterial outbreaks. This shows the importance of harmonization of data-processing surveillance of bacterial outbreaks. In summary, multi-centre WGS for bacterial surveillance is achievable, but only if protocols are harmonized.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Interreg V Flanders-The Netherlands program
    • Principle Award Recipient: NotApplicable
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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2021-07-19
2021-10-24
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