Pathogen genomics is transforming infectious disease surveillance

By Rebecca Bazeley

19 August 2018


Public Health England (PHE) has published a report on the implementation of their central whole genome sequencing (WGS) service and its impact on the investigation and management of infectious diseases.

Implementing pathogen genomics: a case study outlines the development process undertaken by PHE to establish the central WGS service and the transformation of a national bacteriology reference laboratory into a genomics-led service.  The report was developed and produced by PHG Foundation.

Pathogen genomics is a powerful approach to reducing the number of people who become ill from foodborne diseases such as Salmonella and E. coli and Listeria.  Instead of multiple techniques that require a broad array of equipment and expertise, WGS can collect crucial microbiological information using a single technique.  Other benefits are a more comprehensive set of information, improved health and safety and a reduction in animal use.

Dr Kathie Grant – said “As an early adopter of pathogen genomics the Gastrointestinal Bacteria Reference Unit at PHE Colindale has seen a transformation to more streamlined laboratory processes and game changing improvements to outbreak investigations. We hope publication of this case study will help inform others seeking to establish or deploy pathogen WGS services.”

The report is free to download from


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