Let us try to understand how health care institutions, government organizations try their best to prevent, prepare for and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Whole genome sequencing of Listeria began as a one-year project in fall 2013 as a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Center for Biotechnology Information, and state and local health departments.
Just as each of us have a distinct genetic makeup, each type of bacteria also has its own unique genome that science has been able to sequence. What’s more, every strain of bacteria has its own unique genome. Science has discovered that by tracking the different genome sequences, we can determine when mutations that could lead to rapidly spreading illnesses are happening. Pair this data with traditional epidemiology data and you have a sophisticated way of understanding, tracking, and preventing outbreaks. (Note: Genome Trakr is FDA's and PulseNet is CDC's)
1. How CDC uses the Latest Technology to Detect Outbreaks and Protect the Public’s Health?
PulseNet uses pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and now also whole genome sequencing, two types of DNA fingerprinting.
Scientists characterize Listeria isolated from a sample of the patient’s blood or other tissue. The DNA fingerprint from a patient’s Listeria is compared with hundreds of Listeria DNA fingerprints from other patients.
When PulseNet identifies a cluster of people with related Listeria germs, it notifies epidemiologists, who begin an investigation to look for a common source of the illnesses and check GenomeTrakr to see if there are matches to food isolates.
PulseNet is a collaboration among CDC and state and local health departments.
2 . what is a pathogen
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pioneering the use of whole genome sequencing to reduce illnesses and deaths from food borne illness.
"GenomeTrakr", a network of federal, state, academic, and other laboratories around the world, is making genomic information from foodborne pathogens publicly available so it can be used to speed outbreak investigations and to improve food safety processes.
FDA's GenomeTrakr is a whole genome sequencing network and open-source genome sequence database of food and environmental pathogens. GenomeTrakr is greatly enhancing the traceability of bacterial foodborne contamination in the nation's food supply.