Bordetella pertussis causes whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease that is reemerging in many world regions. The spread of antigen-deficient strains may threaten acellular vaccine efficacy. Dynamics of strain transmission are poorly defined because of shortcomings in current strain genotyping methods. Our objective was to develop a whole-genome genotyping strategy with sufficient resolution for local epidemiologic questions and sufficient reproducibility to enable international comparisons of clinical isolates. We defined a core genome multilocus sequence typing scheme comprising 2,038 loci and demonstrated its congruence with whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism variation. Most cases of intrafamilial groups of isolates or of multiple isolates recovered from the same patient were distinguished from temporally and geographically cocirculating isolates. However, epidemiologically unrelated isolates were sometimes nearly undistinguishable. We set up a publicly accessible core genome multilocus sequence typing database to enable global comparisons of B. pertussis isolates, opening the way for internationally coordinated surveillance.
Journal: Emerging infectious diseases