Agrobacterium spp. nosocomial outbreak assessment using rapid MALDI-TOF MS based typing, confirmed by whole genome sequencing

Carlo Casanova, Elia Lo Priore, Adrian Egli, Helena M.B. Seth-Smith, Lorenz Räber, Daniel Ott, Valentin Pflüger, Sara Droz, Jonas Marschall, Rami Sommerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: A number of episodes of nosocomial Agrobacterium spp. bacteremia (two cases per year) were observed at Bern University Hospital, Switzerland, from 2015 to 2017. This triggered an outbreak investigation. Methods: Cases of Agrobacterium spp. bacteremias that occurred between August 2011 and February 2017 were investigated employing line lists, environmental sampling, rapid protein- (MALDI-TOF MS), and genome-based typing (pulsed field gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing) of the clinical isolates. Results: We describe a total of eight bacteremia episodes due to A. radiobacter (n = 2), Agrobacterium genomovar G3 (n = 5) and A. pusense (n = 1). Two tight clusters were observed by WGS typing, representing the two A. radiobacter isolates (cluster I, isolated in 2015) and four of the Agrobacterium genomovar G3 isolates (cluster II, isolated in 2016 and 2017), suggesting two different point sources. The epidemiological investigations revealed two computer tomography (CT) rooms as common patient locations, which correlated with the two outbreak clusters. MALDI-TOF MS permitted faster evaluation of strain relatedness than DNA-based methods. High resolution WGS-based typing confirmed the MALDI-TOF MS clustering. Conclusions: We report clinical and epidemiological characteristics of two outbreak clusters with Agrobacterium. spp. bacteremia likely acquired during CT contrast medium injection and highlight the use of MALDI-TOF MS as a rapid tool to assess relatedness of rare gram-negative pathogens in an outbreak investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171
JournalAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 4 2019


  • Agrobacterium
  • Nosocomial outbreak
  • Rhizobium
  • Whole genome sequencing


Dive into the research topics of 'Agrobacterium spp. nosocomial outbreak assessment using rapid MALDI-TOF MS based typing, confirmed by whole genome sequencing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this