Genomic epidemiology of a Cryptococcus neoformans case cluster in Glasgow, Scotland, 2018.

Microb Genom

In 2018, a cluster of two cases of cryptococcosis occurred at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, Scotland (UK). It was postulated that these cases may have been linked to pigeon droppings found on the hospital site, given there have been previous reports of associated with pigeon guano. Although some samples of pigeon guano taken from the site yielded culturable yeast from genera related to , they have since been classified as or spp., and no isolates of were recovered from either the guano or subsequent widespread air sampling. In an attempt to further elucidate any possible shared source of the clinical isolates, we used whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis to examine the relationship of the two isolates from the QEUH cases, along with two isolates from sporadic cases treated at a different Glasgow hospital earlier in 2018. Our work demonstrated that these four clinical isolates were not clonally related; while all isolates were from the VNI global lineage and of the same mating type (MATα), the genotypes of the two QEUH isolates were separated by 1885 base changes and belonged to different sub-lineages, recently described as the intercontinental sub-clades VNIa-93 and VNIa-5. In contrast, one of the two sporadic 2018 clinical isolates was determined to belong to the VNIb sub-lineage and the other classified as a VNIV/VNI hybrid. Our work demonstrated that the two 2018 QEUH isolates and the two prior clinical isolates were all genetically distinct. It was not possible to determine whether the QEUH genotypes stemmed from independent sources or from the same source, i.e. pigeons carrying different genotypes, but it should be noted that whilst members of allied genera within the were isolated from the hospital environment, there were no environmental isolations of .

Year of Publication
Microb Genom
Date Published
2021 03
PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
Grant list
MR/V033417/1 / MRC_ / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
MR/N006364/2 / MRC_ / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
WT_ / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom
MR/R015600/1 / MRC_ / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
U19 AI110818 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
215239/Z/19/Z / WT_ / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom