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Epidemiology of Mycobacterium abscessus in England: an observational study

Lipworth, S; Hough, N; Weston, N; Muller-Pebody, B; Phin, N; Myers, R; Chapman, S; ... Walker, TM; + view all (2021) Epidemiology of Mycobacterium abscessus in England: an observational study. The Lancet Microbe , 2 (10) e498-e507. 10.1016/S2666-5247(21)00128-2. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Mycobacterium abscessus has emerged as a significant clinical concern following reports that it is readily transmissible in health-care settings between patients with cystic fibrosis. We linked routinely collected whole-genome sequencing and health-care usage data with the aim of investigating the extent to which such transmission explains acquisition in patients with and without cystic fibrosis in England. METHODS: In this retrospective observational study, we analysed consecutive M abscessus whole-genome sequencing data from England (beginning of February, 2015, to Nov 14, 2019) to identify genomically similar isolates. Linkage to a national health-care usage database was used to investigate possible contacts between patients. Multivariable regression analysis was done to investigate factors associated with acquisition of a genomically clustered strain (genomic distance <25 single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]). FINDINGS: 2297 isolates from 906 patients underwent whole-genome sequencing as part of the routine Public Health England diagnostic service. Of 14 genomic clusters containing isolates from ten or more patients, all but one contained patients with cystic fibrosis and patients without cystic fibrosis. Patients with cystic fibrosis were equally likely to have clustered isolates (258 [60%] of 431 patients) as those without cystic fibrosis (322 [63%] of 513 patients; p=0·38). High-density phylogenetic clusters were randomly distributed over a wide geographical area. Most isolates with a closest genetic neighbour consistent with potential transmission had no identifiable relevant epidemiological contacts. Having a clustered isolate was independently associated with increasing age (adjusted odds ratio 1·14 per 10 years, 95% CI 1·04–1·26), but not time spent as an hospital inpatient or outpatient. We identified two sibling pairs with cystic fibrosis with genetically highly divergent isolates and one pair with closely related isolates, and 25 uninfected presumed household contacts with cystic fibrosis. INTERPRETATION: Previously identified widely disseminated dominant clones of M abscessus are not restricted to patients with cystic fibrosis and occur in other chronic respiratory diseases. Although our analysis showed a small number of cases where person-to-person transmission could not be excluded, it did not support this being a major mechanism for M abscessus dissemination at a national level in England. Overall, these data should reassure patients and clinicians that the risk of acquisition from other patients in health-care settings is relatively low and motivate future research efforts to focus on identifying routes of acquisition outside of the cystic fibrosis health-care-associated niche. FUNDING: The National Institute for Health Research, Health Data Research UK, The Wellcome Trust, The Medical Research Council, and Public Health England.

Type: Article
Title: Epidemiology of Mycobacterium abscessus in England: an observational study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/S2666-5247(21)00128-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-5247(21)00128-2
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128342
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