• Genomic History of the seventh Pandemic of Cholera in Africa

      Weill, FX; Domman, D; Njamkepo, E; Tarr, C; Rauzier, J; Fawal, N; Keddy, KH; Salje, H; Moore, S; Mukhopadhyay, AK; et al. (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2017-11-10)
      The seventh cholera pandemic has heavily affected Africa, although the origin and continental spread of the disease remain undefined. We used genomic data from 1070 Vibrio cholerae O1 isolates, across 45 African countries and over a 49-year period, to show that past epidemics were attributable to a single expanded lineage. This lineage was introduced at least 11 times since 1970, into two main regions, West Africa and East/Southern Africa, causing epidemics that lasted up to 28 years. The last five introductions into Africa, all from Asia, involved multidrug-resistant sublineages that replaced antibiotic-susceptible sublineages after 2000. This phylogenetic framework describes the periodicity of lineage introduction and the stable routes of cholera spread, which should inform the rational design of control measures for cholera in Africa.
    • Genomic Insights into the 2016-2017 Cholera Epidemic in Yemen

      Weill, FX; Domman, D; Njamkepo, E; Almesbahi, AA; Naji, M; Nasher, SS; Rakesh, A; Assiri, AM; Sharma, NC; Kariuki, S; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2019-01-02)
      Yemen is currently experiencing, to our knowledge, the largest cholera epidemic in recent history. The first cases were declared in September 2016, and over 1.1 million cases and 2,300 deaths have since been reported1. Here we investigate the phylogenetic relationships, pathogenesis and determinants of antimicrobial resistance by sequencing the genomes of Vibrio cholerae isolates from the epidemic in Yemen and recent isolates from neighbouring regions. These 116 genomic sequences were placed within the phylogenetic context of a global collection of 1,087 isolates of the seventh pandemic V. cholerae serogroups O1 and O139 biotype El Tor2-4. We show that the isolates from Yemen that were collected during the two epidemiological waves of the epidemic1-the first between 28 September 2016 and 23 April 2017 (25,839 suspected cases) and the second beginning on 24 April 2017 (more than 1 million suspected cases)-are V. cholerae serotype Ogawa isolates from a single sublineage of the seventh pandemic V. cholerae O1 El Tor (7PET) lineage. Using genomic approaches, we link the epidemic in Yemen to global radiations of pandemic V. cholerae and show that this sublineage originated from South Asia and that it caused outbreaks in East Africa before appearing in Yemen. Furthermore, we show that the isolates from Yemen are susceptible to several antibiotics that are commonly used to treat cholera and to polymyxin B, resistance to which is used as a marker of the El Tor biotype.
    • Global Phylogeography and Evolutionary History of Shigella Dysenteriae Type 1

      Njamkepo, E; Fawal, N; Tran-Dien, A; Hawkey, J; Strockbine, N; Jenkins, C; Talukder, KA; Bercion, R; Kuleshov, K; Kolínská, R; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-03-21)
      Together with plague, smallpox and typhus, epidemics of dysentery have been a major scourge of human populations for centuries(1). A previous genomic study concluded that Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (Sd1), the epidemic dysentery bacillus, emerged and spread worldwide after the First World War, with no clear pattern of transmission(2). This is not consistent with the massive cyclic dysentery epidemics reported in Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries(1,3,4) and the first isolation of Sd1 in Japan in 1897(5). Here, we report a whole-genome analysis of 331 Sd1 isolates from around the world, collected between 1915 and 2011, providing us with unprecedented insight into the historical spread of this pathogen. We show here that Sd1 has existed since at least the eighteenth century and that it swept the globe at the end of the nineteenth century, diversifying into distinct lineages associated with the First World War, Second World War and various conflicts or natural disasters across Africa, Asia and Central America. We also provide a unique historical perspective on the evolution of antibiotic resistance over a 100-year period, beginning decades before the antibiotic era, and identify a prevalent multiple antibiotic-resistant lineage in South Asia that was transmitted in several waves to Africa, where it caused severe outbreaks of disease.