Navigation Links
Genomics and social network analysis team up to solve disease outbreaks
Date:5/22/2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA May 22, 2011 -- Combining the cutting-edge technology of whole genome sequencing of bacteria with social networking analysis, public health officials can get a more detailed picture of disease outbreaks that will better help track and stop them, say researchers today at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

"Public health agencies are now able to harness the power of genome sequencing, which, when combined with the detailed clinical and epidemiological data we have access to, allows us to reconstruct outbreaks and really understand how a pathogen moves through a population," says Jennifer Gardy of the British Columbia Center for Disease Control, presenting a case study where she and her colleagues used this new technique to track and eventually stop a tuberculosis outbreak in the province.

An outbreak of tuberculosis occurred over a 3-year period in a medium-sized community in British Columbia. In order to stop the event, public health officials turned to traditional epidemiological methods to identify the source and other contributing factors, but the results were hazy.

The researchers combined two new tools to get a clearer picture of the outbreak: social network analysis, which has become increasingly common in tracking infectious diseases in the past decade, and whole-genome sequencing (analysis of the entire microbe's DNA), which has become cheaper and less time-consuming over the past few years.

"The complete genome sequence of a pathogen is the ultimate DNA fingerprint, and now, with the costs and time associated with genome sequencing dropping almost exponentially, it is possible to sequence most or all of the bacterial isolates taken from and outbreak," says Gardy

And while it may sound like something having to do with Facebook, social network analysis takes traditional epidemiology one step further, asking patients about more than just with whom they have been in contact. In this case Gardy and her colleagues asked patients for a detailed account of their time on a daily basis including where they went and what they did at those places.

"Instead of getting a list of names, you are getting names, places and behaviors, and you can paint a much more detailed picture of the underlying structure. Key people and places and certain behaviors that might be contributing to an outbreak's spread become much more apparent and allow you to adjust your outbreak investigation in real time as this new information becomes available," says Gardy.

Using this new combinatorial technique, the researchers eventually determined that the outbreak was likely not instigated by genetic changes to the pathogen, but was instead likely due to increased usage of crack cocaine in the community. The disease was being transmitted in crack houses where people were coughing often while spending hours together in poorly ventilated rooms.

Additionally they were able to determine that a few key individuals acted as superspreaders, and these people were socially well connected and sympotmatic for long periods of time. This information is being used in a current outbreak investigation where public health officials are trying to target socially popular people for screening as a priority.

"We took an outbreak that was an absolute mystery by traditional methods and solved it using genome sequencing and social network analysis," says Gardy who calls this and other genomic epidemiological studies "a new and exciting direction for epidemiology and the study of infectious disease, particularly for public health agencies."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. OGI genomics researchers awarded $23 million
2. Dr. Daniel Von Hoff presented with top genomics award from Scripps
3. DOE JGI Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting set for March 22-24, 2011
4. Plant breeding is being transformed by advances in genomics and computing
5. Deep genomics
6. Reportlinker Adds Personalized Medicine Market - Advances in Human Genomics and Proteomics to Challenge Traditional Therapeutics
7. Salk Institute creates Renato Dulbecco Chair in Genomics and Roger Guillemin Chair in Neuroscience
8. Mississauga teacher awarded prize for excellence in teaching genomics
9. LSU researcher participates in NIH-funded study ushering in the age of personal genomics
10. Structural genomics accelerates protein structure determination
11. Structural Genomics Consortium releases 1,000th protein structure
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/6/2017)... 5, 2017  SomaLogic announced today that it ... established by iCarbonX, the China ... "Global Digital Health Ecosystem that can define each ... individual,s biological, behavioral and psychological data, the Internet ... companies, SomaLogic will provide proteomics data and applications ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... 2016  As part of its longstanding mission to improve ... company, recently released its latest children,s book, titled ... on the topics of inheritance and variation of traits that ... in elementary school classrooms in the US. ... Ariana Killoran , whose previous book with 23andMe, ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... 2016   IdentyTechSolutions America LLC , a ... solutions and a cutting-edge manufacturer of software and ... offering seamless, integrated solutions that comprise IDT biometric ... solutions provide IdentyTech,s customers with combined physical identification ... crime and theft. "We are proud ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/16/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Attagene , a Research Triangle Park-based ... Business Administration. The Tibbetts Award honors the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) ... considered the best of the best from the thousands of firms that currently ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... ... January 14, 2017 , ... Seattle-based Phase Genomics ... genome assemblies to researchers around the globe. Long considered a “holy grail” ... a wide range of scientific questions. The announcement was made today at ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... 13, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... The biosimilars market ... 3.39 Billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 26.3%. ... product, manufacturing type, and application. Factors such as rising incidence of ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... Kalamazoo, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... January 13, 2017 ... ... manufacture and market products containing an organic compound called fulvic acid that farms, ... , Hydroponics operations that grow cannabis are among the fastest growing segments of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: