Metagenomic sequence data can be used to detect the presence of infectious viruses and bacteria, but normal microbial flora make this process challenging. We re-analyzed metagenomic RNA sequence data collected during a recent outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), caused in some cases by infection with enterovirus D68. We found that among the patients whose symptoms were previously attributed to enterovirus D68, one patient had clear evidence of infection with Haemophilus influenzae, and a second patient had a severe Staphylococcus aureus infection caused by a methicillin-resistant strain. Neither of these bacteria were identified in the original study. These observations may have relevance in cases that present with flaccid paralysis because bacterial infections, co-infections or post-infection immune responses may trigger pathogenic processes that may present as poliomyelitis-like syndromes and may mimic AFM. A separate finding was that large numbers of human sequences were present in each of the publicly released samples, although the original study reported that human sequences had been removed before deposition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)