Molecular typing is integral for identifying Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains that may be shared between patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). We conducted a side-by-side comparison of two P. aeruginosa genotyping methods utilising informative-single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) methods; one targeting 10 P. aeruginosa SNPs and using real-time polymerase chain reaction technology (HRM10SNP) and the other targeting 20 SNPs and based on the Sequenom MassARRAY platform (iPLEX20SNP).
Person-to-person transmission of respiratory pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is a challenge facing many cystic fibrosis (CF) centres. Viable P aeruginosa are contained in aerosols produced during coughing, raising the possibility of airborne transmission.
Burkholderia cepacia complex organisms are important transmissible pathogens found in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. In recent years, the rates of cross-infection of epidemic strains have declined due to effective infection control efforts. However, cases of sporadic B. cepacia complex infection continue to occur in some centers. The acquisition pathways and clinical outcomes of sporadic B. cepacia complex infection are unclear. We sought to determine the patient clinical characteristics, outcomes, incidence, and genotypic relatedness for all cases of B. cepacia complex infection at two CF centers. We also sought to study the external conditions that influence the acquisition of infection. From 2001 to 2011, 67 individual organisms were cultured from the respiratory samples of 64 patients. Sixty-five percent of the patients were adults, in whom chronic infections were more common (68%) (P = 0.006). The incidence of B. cepacia complex infection increased by a mean of 12% (95% confidence interval [CI], 3 to 23%) per year. The rates of transplantation and death were similar in the incident cases who developed chronic infection compared to those in patients with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Multilocus sequence typing revealed 50 individual strains from 65 isolates. Overall, 85% of the patients were infected with unique strains, suggesting sporadic acquisition of infection. The yearly incidence of nonepidemic B. cepacia complex infection was positively correlated with the amount of rainfall in the two sites examined: subtropical Brisbane (r = 0.65, P = 0.031) and tropical Townsville (r = 0.82, P = 0.002). This study demonstrates that despite strict cohort segregation, new cases of unrelated B. cepacia complex infection continue to occur. These data also support an environmental origin of infection and suggest that climate conditions may be associated with the acquisition of B. cepacia complex infections.
Shared strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa are now well recognized in people with cystic fibrosis (CF), and suitable P. aeruginosa laboratory typing tools are pivotal to understanding their clinical significance and guiding infection control policies in CF clinics. We therefore compared a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based typing method using Sequenom iPLEX matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) with typing methods used routinely by our laboratory. We analysed 617 P. aeruginosa isolates that included 561 isolates from CF patients collected between 2001 and 2009 in two Brisbane CF clinics and typed previously by enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC)-PCR, as well as 56 isolates from non-CF patients analysed previously by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). The isolates were tested using a P. aeruginosa Sequenom iPLEX MALDI-TOF (PA iPLEX) method comprising two multiplex reactions, a 13-plex and an 8-plex, to characterize 20 SNPs from the P. aeruginosa housekeeping genes acsA, aroE, guaA, mutL, nuoD, ppsA and trpE. These 20 SNPs were employed previously in a real-time format involving 20 separate assays in our laboratory. The SNP analysis revealed 121 different SNP profiles for the 561 CF isolates. Overall, there was at least 96% agreement between the ERIC-PCR and SNP analyses for all predominant shared strains among patients attending our CF clinics: AUST-01, AUST-02 and AUST-06. For the less frequently encountered shared strain AUST-07, 6/25 (24%) ERIC-PCR profiles were misidentified initially as AUST-02 or as unique, illustrating the difficulty of gel-based analyses. SNP results for the 56 non-CF isolates were consistent with previous MLST data. Thus, the PA iPLEX format provides an attractive high-throughput alternative to ERIC-PCR for large-scale investigations of shared P. aeruginosa strains.
Monitoring the emergence and transmission of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains among cystic fibrosis (CF) patients is important for infection control in CF centers internationally. A recently developed multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme is used for epidemiologic analyses of P. aeruginosa outbreaks; however, little is known about its suitability for isolates from CF patients compared with that of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus-PCR (ERIC-PCR). As part of a prevalence study of P. aeruginosa strains in Australian CF clinics, we compared the discriminatory power and concordance of ERIC-PCR, PFGE, and MLST among 93 CF sputum and 11 control P. aeruginosa isolates. PFGE and MLST analyses were also performed on 30 paired isolates collected 85 to 354 days apart from 30 patients attending two CF centers separated by 3,600 kilometers in order to detect within-host evolution. Each of the three methods displayed high levels of concordance and discrimination; however, overall lower discrimination was seen with ERIC-PCR than with MLST and PFGE. Analysis of the 50 ERIC-PCR types yielded 54 PFGE types, which were related by ? 6 band differences, and 59 sequence types, which were classified into 7 BURST groups and 42 singletons. MLST also proved useful for detecting novel and known strains and for inferring relatedness among unique PFGE types. However, 47% of the paired isolates produced PFGE patterns that within 1 year differed by one to five bands, whereas with MLST all paired isolates remained identical. MLST thus represents a categorical analysis tool with resolving power similar to that of PFGE for typing P. aeruginosa. Its focus on highly conserved housekeeping genes is particularly suited for long-term clinical monitoring and detecting novel strains.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is associated with infectious endometritis in horses. Although infectious endometritis is often considered a venereal infection, there is relatively limited genotypic-based evidence to support this mode of transmission. The study sought to determine the relatedness between genital P. aeruginosa isolates collected from a limited geographical region using molecular strain typing. Enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus PCR typing was performed on 93 isolates collected between 2005 and 2009 from 2058 thoroughbred horses (including 18 stallions) at 66 studs. While P. aeruginosa was not detected in the stallions, 53/93 (57%) mares harbouring P. aeruginosa had clonally related strains, which included a single dominant genotype detected in 42 (45%) mares from 13 different studs. These novel findings suggest that most equine genital P. aeruginosa infections in this region may have been acquired from mechanisms other than direct horse to horse transmission. Instead, other potential acquisition pathways, as well as strain specific adaptation to the equine genital tract, should be investigated.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important cause of pulmonary infection in cystic fibrosis (CF). Its correct identification ensures effective patient management and infection control strategies. However, little is known about how often CF sputum isolates are falsely identified as P. aeruginosa. We used P. aeruginosa-specific duplex real-time PCR assays to determine if 2,267 P. aeruginosa sputum isolates from 561 CF patients were correctly identified by 17 Australian clinical microbiology laboratories. Misidentified isolates underwent further phenotypic tests, amplified rRNA gene restriction analysis, and partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Participating laboratories were surveyed on how they identified P. aeruginosa from CF sputum. Overall, 2,214 (97.7%) isolates from 531 (94.7%) CF patients were correctly identified as P. aeruginosa. Further testing with the API 20NE kit correctly identified only 34 (59%) of the misidentified isolates. Twelve (40%) patients had previously grown the misidentified species in their sputum. Achromobacter xylosoxidans (n = 21), Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (n = 15), and Inquilinus limosus (n = 4) were the species most commonly misidentified as P. aeruginosa. Overall, there were very low rates of P. aeruginosa misidentification among isolates from a broad cross section of Australian CF patients. Additional improvements are possible by undertaking a culture history review, noting colonial morphology, and performing stringent oxidase, DNase, and colistin susceptibility testing for all presumptive P. aeruginosa isolates. Isolates exhibiting atypical phenotypic features should be evaluated further by additional phenotypic or genotypic identification techniques.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen and an important cause of infection, particularly amongst cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. While specific strains capable of patient-to-patient transmission are known, many infections appear to be caused by unique and unrelated strains. There is a need to understand the relationship between strains capable of colonising the CF lung and the broader set of P. aeruginosa isolates found in natural environments. Here we report the results of a multilocus sequence typing (MLST)-based study designed to understand the genetic diversity and population structure of an extensive regional sample of P. aeruginosa isolates from South East Queensland, Australia. The analysis is based on 501 P. aeruginosa isolates obtained from environmental, animal and human (CF and non-CF) sources with particular emphasis on isolates from the Lower Brisbane River and isolates from CF patients obtained from the same geographical region. Overall, MLST identified 274 different sequence types, of which 53 were shared between one or more ecological settings. Our analysis revealed a limited association between genotype and environment and evidence of frequent recombination. We also found that genetic diversity of P. aeruginosa in Queensland, Australia was indistinguishable from that of the global P. aeruginosa population. Several CF strains were encountered frequently in multiple ecological settings; however, the most frequently encountered CF strains were confined to CF patients. Overall, our data confirm a non-clonal epidemic structure and indicate that most CF strains are a random sample of the broader P. aeruginosa population. The increased abundance of some CF strains in different geographical regions is a likely product of chance colonisation events followed by adaptation to the CF lung and horizontal transmission among patients.
Recent molecular-typing studies suggest cross-infection as one of the potential acquisition pathways for Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In Australia, there is only limited evidence of unrelated patients sharing indistinguishable P. aeruginosa strains. We therefore examined the point-prevalence, distribution, diversity and clinical impact of P. aeruginosa strains in Australian CF patients nationally. 983 patients attending 18 Australian CF centres provided 2887 sputum P. aeruginosa isolates for genotyping by enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus-PCR assays with confirmation by multilocus sequence typing. Demographic and clinical details were recorded for each participant. Overall, 610 (62%) patients harboured at least one of 38 shared genotypes. Most shared strains were in small patient clusters from a limited number of centres. However, the two predominant genotypes, AUST-01 and AUST-02, were widely dispersed, being detected in 220 (22%) and 173 (18%) patients attending 17 and 16 centres, respectively. AUST-01 was associated with significantly greater treatment requirements than unique P. aeruginosa strains. Multiple clusters of shared P. aeruginosa strains are common in Australian CF centres. At least one of the predominant and widespread genotypes is associated with increased healthcare utilisation. Longitudinal studies are now needed to determine the infection control implications of these findings.
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