Next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis has emerged as a promising molecular epidemiological method for investigating health care-associated outbreaks. Here, we used NGS to investigate a 3-year outbreak of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) at a large academic burn center. A reference genome from the index case was generated using de novo assembly of PacBio reads. Forty-six MDRAB isolates were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and sequenced using an Illumina platform. After mapping to the index case reference genome, four samples were excluded due to low coverage, leaving 42 samples for further analysis. Multilocus sequence types (MLST) and the presence of acquired resistance genes were also determined from the sequencing data. A transmission network was inferred from genomic and epidemiological data using a Bayesian framework. Based on single-nucleotide variant (SNV) differences, this MDRAB outbreak represented three sequential outbreaks caused by distinct clones. The first and second outbreaks were caused by sequence type 2 (ST2), while the third outbreak was caused by ST79. For the second outbreak, the MLST and PFGE results were discordant. However, NGS-based SNV typing detected a recombination event and consequently enabled a more accurate phylogenetic analysis. The distribution of resistance genes varied among the three outbreaks. The first- and second-outbreak strains possessed a blaOXA-23-like group, while the third-outbreak strains harbored a blaOXA-40-like group. NGS-based analysis demonstrated the superior resolution of outbreak transmission networks for MDRAB and provided insight into the mechanisms of strain diversification between sequential outbreaks through recombination. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Journal: Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy