A protracted iGAS outbreak in a long-term care facility 2014-2015: control measures and the use of whole-genome sequencing

S. Degala, Richard Puleston, R. Bates, R. Borges-Stewart, Juliana Coelho, Georgia Kapatai, Victoria Chalker, J. Mair-Jenkins

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1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: In 2014, two residents of a long-term care facility (LTCF) developed invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections with identical typing (emm 11), resulting in one death. The second resident recovered but had a subsequent episode of emm 11 iGAS infection 10 months later. This second episode was linked to a third case, within 12 days, leading to a further outbreak investigation. AIM: To combine different techniques to establish whether this was a protracted outbreak, understand transmission pathways and inform appropriate control measures. METHODS: Following a routine response to the first cluster, the second investigation included a care record review. This informed network analysis of case interactions with staff and visitors during 10 days prior to infection. These data were combined with post-outbreak whole-genome sequencing (WGS) using isolates from cases, and staff and resident screening (44 GAS isolates: 11 outbreak-related and 33 sporadic isolates). FINDINGS: Two of the three confirmed iGAS cases died (one suffered two episodes). All iGAS cases, and six non-invasive isolates from 2015, were emm 11 (monophylogenetic WGS clade). Network analysis highlighted only indirect contact through staff-visitor interactions between iGAS cases in 2015. This suggested a common source and transmission propagation through carriage and/or environmental contamination over an 11-month period. CONCLUSIONS: This outbreak highlighted benefits of staff/resident screening and typing as part of routine response. Network analysis and highly discriminatory WGS clarified the protracted nature of the outbreak, supporting findings of hygiene and infection control issues and adding to our understanding of the epidemiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Crown Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This record is sourced from MEDLINE/PubMed, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


  • GAS
  • Group A streptococcal
  • Long-term care facility
  • emm 11
  • iGAS


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