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Using genomics for surveillance of veterinary infectious agents

Author(s) : E. Mathijs, F. Vandenbussche & S. Van Borm

Summary :

Factors such as globalisation, climate change and agricultural intensification can increase the risk of microbial emergence. As a result, there is a growing need for flexible laboratory-based surveillance tools to rapidly identify, characterise and monitor global (re-)emerging diseases. Although many tools are available, novel sequencing technologies have launched a new era in pathogen surveillance. Here, the authors review the potential applications of high-throughput genomic technologies for the surveillance of veterinary pathogens. They focus on the two types of surveillance that will benefit most from these new tools: hazard-specific surveillance (pathogen identification and typing) and early-warning surveillance (pathogen discovery). The paper reviews how the resulting sequencing data can be used to improve diagnosis and concludes by highlighting the major challenges that hinder the routine use of this technology in the veterinary field.

Genomics – High-throughput sequencing – Infectious disease – Metagenomics – Next-generation sequencing – Surveillance – Typing – Veterinary pathogen – Whole-genome sequencing.

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