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Comparison of Whole-Genome Sequences of Legionella pneumophila in Tap Water and in Clinical Strains, Flint, Michigan, USA, 2016.

  • Author(s): Garner, Emily
  • Brown, Connor L
  • Schwake, David Otto
  • Rhoads, William J
  • Arango-Argoty, Gustavo
  • Zhang, Liqing
  • Jospin, Guillaume
  • Coil, David A
  • Eisen, Jonathan A
  • Edwards, Marc A
  • Pruden, Amy
  • et al.
Abstract

During the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, USA (2014-2015), 2 outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease occurred in Genesee County, Michigan. We compared whole-genome sequences of 10 clinical Legionella pneumophila isolates submitted to a laboratory in Genesee County during the second outbreak with 103 water isolates collected the following year. We documented a genetically diverse range of L. pneumophila strains across clinical and water isolates. Isolates belonging to 1 clade (3 clinical isolates, 3 water isolates from a Flint hospital, 1 water isolate from a Flint residence, and the reference Paris strain) had a high degree of similarity (2-1,062 single-nucleotide polymorphisms), all L. pneumophila sequence type 1, serogroup 1. Serogroup 6 isolates belonging to sequence type 2518 were widespread in Flint hospital water samples but bore no resemblance to available clinical isolates. L. pneumophila strains in Flint tap water after the outbreaks were diverse and similar to some disease-causing strains.

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