Typing Isolates from a Legionella pneumophila Outbreak using Whole Genome Sequencing

Project Summary

Legionella pneumophila is a global Gram negative organism that inhabits natural and man-made water systems. It has been associated with both sporadic infection and large outbreaks of pneumonitis, in which contaminated cooling towers have been implicated as the source of infection. Within this species, serogroup 1 causes the majority of human infection. Typing of isolates of human and environmental origin has been employed in outbreak investigations to define the source of infection. Several typing methods have been described in the literature including pulsed field gel electrophoresis but all of these methods are associated with certain limitations. 

This project aims to explore the feasibility of replacing these more traditional typing methods with whole genome sequencing (WGS) of Legionella pneumophila strains. To do this whole genome sequencing will be used to study isolates collected from a large Victorian Legionella outbreak. We hypothesize that WGS will not only result in greater resolution of the diversity of isolates but also lead to a more rapid turn-around-time of testing, which allows for a more efficient public health response to Legionella outbreaks.

Project Partner

Department of Health and Human Services

Project Team

Dr Kyra Chua

Mr Andrew Buultjens

Ms Zoe Cutcher

Mr Stuart Adcock

Ms Lucinda Franklin

Associate Prof Timothy Stinear

Prof Ben Howden