Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.
It is a serious condition but can be cured with proper treatment.
TB mainly affects the lungs. However, it can affect any part of the body, including the bones and nervous system.
Our group has pioneered the use of whole genome sequencing to investigate infection spread in TB.
Whilst traditional genetic techniques may have told us that an infection may have been related, whole genome sequencing can often tell us whether someone is likely to have caught the infection directly off another person.
For instance, we can find TB infections which appear to have come from the same person, even if the cases were in completely different areas of the country. We can then investigate where these individuals are linked, and track down the original source of infection.
We can use this to prevent TB from spreading any further, and it also gives us information on how TB can be spread from person to person, to design future methods of TB prevention.