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Tracking MRSA in Real Time

last modified Aug 08, 2012 04:44 PM
In study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Cambridge researchers demonstrate that whole genome sequencing can provide clinically relevant data on bacterial transmission within a timescale that can influence infection control and patient management.
Tracking MRSA in Real Time

MRSA Colonies

In a new study released today in New England Journal of Medicine, researchers demonstrate that whole genome sequencing can provide clinically relevant data on bacterial transmission within a timescale that can influence infection control and patient management.

Scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, University of Cambridge, and Illumina collaborated to use whole genome sequencing to identify which isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were part of a hospital outbreak.

Current laboratory techniques often cannot distinguish between MRSA isolates. This study indicates that whole genome sequencing can provide precise information in a fast turnaround time, and could make a clear distinction between MRSA isolates in a way that was not previously possible.

MRSA infection is a major public health problem. For example, in the United States, an estimated 89,785 invasive MRSA infections associated with 15,249 deaths occurred in 2008. Even when the disease is treated, MRSA infections double the average length of hospital stay and increase healthcare costs. Fast and accurate detection of bacterial transmission is crucial to better control of healthcare-associated infection.

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Article courtesy of the Sanger Institute