Bacterial pathogens will now be monitored by three German organizations, which have created a consortium to detect outbreaks faster. 

The University of Münster, Research Center Borstel, and the Robert Koch Institute have formed the miGenomeSurv network, a microbial genome-based surveillance of infectious agents.

The network is based on national reference laboratories, where infectious bacteria relevant to the population are characterized microbiologically and via genome analysis. Genome sequencing methods provide DNA fingerprints and other characteristics of the bacteria that allow surveillance and cluster detection. 

The initial focus was on Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes and submitted samples dated from early 2019, reaching almost 3,000 by the second quarter of 2021. 

A detailed fingerprint of a pathogen is needed to identify or exclude any similarities between strains. This helps investigators recognize if the pathogens involved are similar and if they have already been seen elsewhere or earlier.