If you’ve been in infection control for a while, you know what it feels like when you seem to have a persistent outbreak and just can’t seem to shake it off…

But how do you know it’s actually an ongoing outbreak? Are the new cases you are seeing related to the prior ones, or are they new infections coming in from the community? What is the right next step for you to take? As the magic 8 ball might say, “the outlook is cloudy.”

Our recent work is a reminder of how challenging this can be. A hospital was experiencing persistent, repeated appearances of a MRSA in their NICU despite a series of interventions over months. For the past few months, we have been analyzing new samples, as well as comparing them to previous investigations to figure out if the infections are a persistent outbreak linked to a reservoir or if there are other dynamics at play. 

With epiXact®, we make it that much easier to resolve. Whenever we conduct an epiXact project, we bank the isolates sent to us and store all the genomic data generated from their sequences along with the clonality analysis. This makes it easy for us to run any new samples against any or even all of the other samples previously analyzed through our service. In one case, we were able to identify 5 different clusters of highly-related samples that spanned across 6 collection periods over a few months! A situation that demands an entirely different strategy than one persistent outbreak.   

EpiXact is a rapid, CLIA-validated whole-genome sequencing (WGS) service for HAIs. It’s built for rapid, high-stakes investigations, but for consistent users of our service, it’s also a rich archive of past investigations that can be recalled for persistent transmission cases. It’s never been easier to confirm or rule out an ongoing outbreak if you use epiXact consistently for all your HAI investigations. 

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the epiXact suite of services and see how we can help you.