Discovering disease-causing pathogens in resource-scarce Southeast Asia using a global metagenomic pathogen monitoring system

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Mar 15;119(11):e2115285119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2115285119. Epub 2022 Mar 1.


SignificanceMetagenomic pathogen sequencing offers an unbiased approach to characterizing febrile illness. In resource-scarce settings with high biodiversity, it is critical to identify disease-causing pathogens in order to understand burden and to prioritize efforts for control. Here, metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) characterization of the pathogen landscape in Cambodia revealed diverse vector-borne and zoonotic pathogens irrespective of age and gender as risk factors. Identification of key pathogens led to changes in national program surveillance. This study is a "real world" example of the use of mNGS surveillance of febrile individuals, executed in-country, to identify outbreaks of vector-borne, zoonotic, and other emerging pathogens in a resource-scarce setting.

Keywords: Southeast Asia; metagenomics; next-generation sequencing; pathogen surveillance; vector-borne disease.

MeSH terms

  • Asia, Southeastern / epidemiology
  • Cambodia / epidemiology
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Female
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • Fever / etiology
  • Health Resources*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metagenome*
  • Metagenomics / methods*
  • Public Health Surveillance*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies