Identification of Melioidosis Outbreak by Multilocus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis

Bart Currie, A Haslem, Talima Pearson, Heidie Hornstra, Benjamin Leadem, Mark Mayo, D Gal, Linda Ward, Daniel Godoy, Brian Spratt, Paul S Keim

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    Abstract

    Endemic melioidosis is caused by genetically diverse Burkholderia pseudomallei strains. However, clonal outbreaks (multiple cases caused by 1 strain) have occurred, such as from contaminated potable water. B. pseudomallei is designated a group B bioterrorism agent, which necessitates rapidly recognizing point-source outbreaks. Pulsed- field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) can identify genetically related isolates, but results take several days to obtain. We developed a simplified 4-locus multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA-4) for rapid typing and compared results with PFGE and MLST for a large number of well-characterized B. pseudomallei isolates. MLVA-4 compared favorably with MLST and PFGE for the same isolates; it discriminated between 65 multilocus sequence types and showed relatedness between epidemiologically linked isolates from outbreak clusters and between isolates from individual patients. MLVA-4 can establish or refute that a clonal outbreak of melioidosis has occurred within 8 hours of receipt of bacterial strains.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-174
    Number of pages6
    JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
    Volume15
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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