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Minim typing – facilitating the surveillance of multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae



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7th April 2011

Australia has efficient regulations controlling the use of antibiotics and currently has a manageable situation regarding multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria. However, an increasing problem is the importation of virulent MDR strains through travel. Networks exist that monitor the situation but they require efficient surveillance tools.

Multi locus sequence typing (MLST) is a tool for describing bacterial relationships and was created to provide the microbiological community with a common language allowing results from across the world to be compared. It has enabled researchers and health professionals to not only describe bacterial population structures, but also identify clinically significant virulent clones and track their spread. Despite its popularity, the cost and labour intensity of MLST limits its use on a large scale. We have developed a rapid, low-cost typing method based on MLST data, termed Minim. Using the analogy of a language, Minim can be described as the shorthand form of MLST and will here be presented in the context of Klebsiella pneumoniae.

A Minim typing scheme can be developed for any bacterial species for which there exist a MLST database, and has already been developed for Burkholderia pseudomallei, Campylobacter jejuni, Enterococcus faecium, Haemophilus influenzae, Pasturella multocida, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Stre. ptococcus pyogenesThe concept of Minim has had a lot of interest and several of these assays have been used in research projects around Australia.

Dr Patiyan Andersson, originally from Sweden, has a background in molecular genetic cancer research. He came to Australia in 2008 and joined Menzies for a year conducting research in the field of molecular genetic microbiology. After two years working with antimicrobial resistance research and surveillance in Adelaide, and missing the tropics, he has returned to Menzies to work with Assoc. Prof. Phil Giffard.