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Researchers use genomics to investigate TB outbreak
Date:2/25/2011

the path by which an infectious agent worked its way through a population."

Understanding how an organism enters and spreads through a population is key to public health efforts to manage an outbreak and prevent future cases. This particular study revealed that rather than chains of transmission, in which one person infects another who then infects another and so on, this outbreak was the result of bursts of transmission, where some individuals infected several contacts and others infected none. Knowledge of patterns like this can be used to identify which individuals in a community or in an outbreak should be proactively screened for disease and treated promptly if they test positive thereby mitigating the incidence of these bursts of infection.

"Our findings are already starting to influence how we investigate other TB outbreaks and how we're screening people who might be at risk for developing TB," says Gardy. "We've been able to take our study's findings and put them into practice right away."

"Being able to fund this timely and critical research is what makes Genome BC unique and in this instance, assisting outside of our traditional programs had a significant public impact. Genomics technology was crucial to the success of this study and reflects the value it can lend to public health in a larger context," says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC.

The BC researchers' findings have caught the eye of the wider medical community their findings will be published in the February 24th issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.


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Contact: Jenny Boon
jboon@genomebc.ca
778-327-8374
Genome BC
Source:Eurekalert

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