Whole genome sequencing identifies cause of zoonotic epidemic
What is it about?
For the first time ever, whole genome sequencing was used to identify the cause of a zoonotic infection that sparked a national epidemic of respiratory disease that spread through the population of 80,000 native horses in Iceland during 2010. The bacterium Streptococcus zooepidemicus was recovered from affected horses, humans, dogs and cats. Sequencing these bacteria enabled the differentiation of the epidemic strain, ST209, from endemic strains, revealing its disease-causing potential.
Why is it important?
Previously, researchers have used whole genome sequencing to determine how pathogens spread through a hospital, but this is the first time the technology has been used to track the outbreak of a zoonotic disease.
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