Pulsenet international: Vision for the implementation of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for global foodborne disease surveillance

FWD-NEXT Expert Panel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


PulseNet International is a global network dedicated to laboratory-based surveillance for food-borne diseases. The network comprises the national and regional laboratory networks of Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the United States. The PulseNet International vision is the standardised use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to identify and subtype food-borne bacterial pathogens worldwide, replacing traditional methods to strengthen preparedness and response, reduce global social and economic disease burden, and save lives. To meet the needs of real-time surveillance, the PulseNet International network will standardise subtyping via WGS using whole genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST), which delivers sufficiently high resolution and epidemiological concordance, plus unambiguous nomenclature for the purposes of surveillance. Standardised protocols, validation studies, quality control programmes, database and nomenclature development, and training should support the implementation and decentralisation of WGS. Ideally, WGS data collected for surveillance purposes should be publicly available, in real time where possible, respecting data protection policies. WGS data are suitable for surveillance and outbreak purposes and for answering scientific questions pertaining to source attribution, antimicrobial resistance, transmission patterns, and virulence, which will further enable the protection and improvement of public health with respect to food-borne disease.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements for manuscript review and feedback: Aleisha Reimer (Public Health Agency of Canada); Natalie Knox (Public Health Agency of Canada); Jennifer Adams (Association of Public Health Laboratories, USA). The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control or the European Food Safety Authority. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Pulsenet international: Vision for the implementation of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for global foodborne disease surveillance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this