Genomic Analysis of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium DT160 Associated with a 14-Year Outbreak, New Zealand, 1998-2012
During 1998-2012, an extended outbreak of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium definitive type 160 (DT160) affected > 3,000 humans and killed wild birds in New Zealand. However, the relationship between DT160 within these 2 host groups and the origin of the outbreak are unknown. Whole-genome sequencing was used to compare 109 Salmonella Typhimurium DT160 isolates from sources throughout New Zealand. We provide evidence that DT160 was introduced into New Zealand around 1997 and rapidly propagated throughout the country, becoming more genetically diverse over time. The genetic heterogeneity was evenly distributed across multiple predicted functional protein groups, and we found no evidence of host group differentiation between isolates collected from human, poultry, bovid, and wild bird sources, indicating ongoing transmission between these host groups. Our findings demonstrate how a comparative genomic approach can be used to gain insight into outbreaks, disease transmission, and the evolution of a multihost pathogen after a probable point-source introduction.