MALDI-TOF MS meets WGS in a VRE outbreak investigation

S. Schlebusch*, G. R. Price, R. L. Gallagher, V. Horton-Szar, L. D. H. Elbourne, P. Griffin, D. J. Venter, S. O. Jensen, S. J. Van Hal

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    The use of MALDI-TOF MS (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry) and WGS (whole genome sequencing) has been described for identification and strain relatedness determination. We describe the complementary use of MALDI-TOF MS and WGS in a VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci) outbreak investigation, and discuss some of the challenges with defining strain similarity across these two platforms. Although both assays indicated multiple clusters involved in the outbreak of vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium isolates from positive blood cultures of four haematology–oncology patients, the small cohort and discrepancies between findings indicate the limitations of MALDI-TOF MS and the cautious interpretation of MALDI-TOF MS dendrograms during outbreaks. For definitive determination of the evolutionary distance between isolates, WGS can be used.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)495-499
    Number of pages5
    JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
    Issue number3
    Early online date26 Nov 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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