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Distinct evolutionary patterns of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B disease outbreaks at two universities in the USA

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Author(s)

Li Hao, Matthew T. G. Holden, Xin Wang, Lubomira Andrew, Sabine Wellnitz, Fang Hu, Melissa Whaley, Scott Sammons, Kristen Knipe, Mike Frace, Lucy A McNamara, Paul Liberator, Annaliesa S Anderson

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Abstract

Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B (MnB) was responsible for two independent meningococcal disease outbreaks at universities in the USA during 2013. The first at University A in New Jersey included nine confirmed cases reported between March 2013 and March 2014. The second outbreak occurred at University B in California, with four confirmed cases during November 2013. The public health response to these outbreaks included the approval and deployment of a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine that was not yet licensed in the USA. This study investigated the use of whole-genome sequencing(WGS) to examine the genetic profile of the disease-causing outbreak isolates at each university. Comparative WGS revealed differences in evolutionary patterns between the two disease outbreaks. The University A outbreak isolates were very closely related, with differences primarily attributed to single nucleotide polymorphisms/insertion-deletion (SNP/indel) events. In contrast, the University B outbreak isolates segregated into two phylogenetic clades, differing in large part due to recombination events covering extensive regions (>30 kb) of the genome including virulence factors. This high-resolution comparison of two meningococcal disease outbreaks further demonstrates the genetic complexity of meningococcal bacteria as related to evolution and disease virulence.

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000155
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Volume4
Issue number4
Early online date4 Apr 2018
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

    Research areas

  • Serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis, Disease outbreak, Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), Whole genome sequence (WGS), Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), Vaccine

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