Rare transmission of commensal and pathogenic bacteria in the gut microbiome of hospitalized adults. Nature communications Siranosian, B. A., Brooks, E. F., Andermann, T., Rezvani, A. R., Banaei, N., Tang, H., Bhatt, A. S. 1800; 13 (1): 586


Bacterial bloodstream infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality among patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Although previous research has demonstrated that pathogens may translocate from the gut microbiome into the bloodstream to cause infections, the mechanisms by which HCT patients acquire pathogens in their microbiome have not yet been described. Here, we use linked-read and short-read metagenomic sequencing to analyze 401 stool samples collected from 149 adults undergoing HCT and hospitalized in the same unit over three years, many of whom were roommates. We use metagenomic assembly and strain-specific comparison methods to search for high-identity bacterial strains, which may indicate transmission between the gut microbiomes of patients. Overall, the microbiomes of patients who share time and space in the hospital do not converge in taxonomic composition. However, we do observe six pairs of patients who harbor identical or nearly identical strains of the pathogen Enterococcus faecium, or the gut commensals Akkermansia muciniphila andHungatella hathewayi. These shared strains may result from direct transmission between patients who shared a room and bathroom, acquisition from a common hospital source, or transmission from an unsampled intermediate. We also identify multiple patients with identical strains of species commonly found in commercial probiotics, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In summary, our findings indicate that sharing of identical pathogens between the gut microbiomes of multiple patients is a rare phenomenon. Furthermore, the observed potential transmission of commensal, immunomodulatory microbes suggests that exposure to other humans may contribute to microbiome reassembly post-HCT.

View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-022-28048-7

View details for PubMedID 35102136