Yaws re-emergence and bacterial drug resistance selection after mass administration of azithromycin: a genomic epidemiology investigation

Yaws re-emergence and bacterial drug resistance selection after mass administration of azithromycin: a genomic epidemiology investigation

Fecha de publicación online: 01/10/2020 Fecha de publicación en papel: 1 Octubre 2020 Revista: The Lancet

Abstract:

Background
In a longitudinal study assessing the WHO strategy for yaws eradication using mass azithromycin treatment, we observed resurgence of yaws cases with dominance of a single JG8 sequence type and emergence of azithromycin-resistant Treponema pallidum subspecies pertenue (T p pertenue). Here, we analyse genomic changes in the bacterial population using samples collected during the study.
 
Methods
We did whole bacterial genome sequencing directly on DNA extracted from 37 skin lesion swabs collected from patients on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea, between April 1, 2013, and Nov 1, 2016. We produced phylogenies and correlated these with spatiotemporal information to investigate the source of new cases and the emergence of five macrolide-resistant cases. We used deep amplicon sequencing of surveillance samples to assess the presence of minority macrolide-resistant populations.
 
Findings
We recovered 20 whole T p pertenue genomes, and phylogenetic analysis showed that the re-emerging JG8 sequence type was composed of three bacterial sublineages characterised by distinct spatiotemporal patterns. Of five patients with resistant T p pertenue, all epidemiologically linked, we recovered genomes from three and found no variants. Deep sequencing showed that before treatment, the index patient had fixed macrolide-sensitive T p pertenue, whereas the post-treatment sample had a fixed resistant genotype, as did three of four contact cases.
 
Interpretation
In this study, re-emergence of yaws cases was polyphyletic, indicating multiple epidemiological sources. However, given the genomic and epidemiological linkage of resistant cases and the rarity of resistance alleles in the general population, azithromycin resistance is likely to have evolved only once in this study, followed by onward dissemination.
 
Funding
Wellcome and Provincial Deputation of Barcelona.
Autores: Beale, M. A., Noguera-Julian, M., Godornes, C., Casadella, M., Gonzalez-Beiras, C., Parera, M., et al.

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