Infection control in the new age of genomic epidemiology.


With the growing importance of infectious diseases in health care and communicable disease outbreaks garnering increasing attention, new technologies are playing a greater role in helping us prevent health care-associated infections and provide optimal public health. The microbiology laboratory has always played a large role in infection control by providing tools to identify, characterize, and track pathogens. Recently, advances in DNA sequencing technology have ushered in a new era of genomic epidemiology, where traditional molecular diagnostics and genotyping methods are being enhanced and even replaced by genomics-based methods to aid epidemiologic investigations of communicable diseases. The ability to analyze and compare entire pathogen genomes has allowed for unprecedented resolution into how and why infectious diseases spread. As these genomics-based methods continue to improve in speed, cost, and accuracy, they will be increasingly used to inform and guide infection control and public health practices.

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