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Novel opportunities for NGS-based One Health surveillance of foodborne pathogens

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(Picture by WikiImages via, CC0 license)

Guest Editors

Joergen Schlundt, Nanyang Technological University Food Technology Centre (NAFTEC), Singapore
Moon Tay Yue Feng, Nanyang Technological University Food Technology Centre (NAFTEC), Singapore

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) provides much greater (and faster) strain discrimination than traditional methods, including older genomic methods such as PFGE. At the same time NGS provides an all-in-one test (Whole Genome Sequencing, WGS) which can provide serotype, antimicrobial resistance or virulence profiling, and other molecular or traditional subtyping methods; and notably the same methodology works for all types of pathogens (virus, bacteria, fungi, parasites). 

Since 2011 a significant number of foodborne disease outbreaks have been detected and controlled using WGS, one of the largest being the Listeria outbreak in South Africa in 2017-18. 

Several national public health and food safety regulators are now using WGS for real-time surveillance of foodborne pathogens. At the same time new developments open up for more efficient sharing of data between the health and food sectors (One Health) as well as between countries (Open-source, international WGS databases). 

This collection in One Health Outlook aims at describing the potential for One Health Surveillance of foodborne pathogens and disease utilizing the revolutionary NGS methodologies.

  1. The holistic approach of One Health, which sees human, animal, plant, and environmental health as a unit, rather than discrete parts, requires not only interdisciplinary cooperation, but standardized methods f...

    Authors: Ruth E. Timme, William J. Wolfgang, Maria Balkey, Sai Laxmi Gubbala Venkata, Robyn Randolph, Marc Allard and Errol Strain
    Citation: One Health Outlook 2020 2:20
  2. Foodborne viral infections rank among the top 5 causes of disease, with noroviruses and hepatitis A causing the greatest burden globally. Contamination of foods by infected food handlers or through environment...

    Authors: Marion Desdouits, Miranda de Graaf, Sofia Strubbia, Bas B. Oude Munnink, Annelies Kroneman, Françoise S. Le Guyader and Marion P. G. Koopmans
    Citation: One Health Outlook 2020 2:14
  3. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of foodborne pathogens has become an effective method for investigating the information contained in the genome sequence of bacterial pathogens. In addition, its highly discrimina...

    Authors: Laura Uelze, Josephine Grützke, Maria Borowiak, Jens Andre Hammerl, Katharina Juraschek, Carlus Deneke, Simon H. Tausch and Burkhard Malorny
    Citation: One Health Outlook 2020 2:3