Agrobacterium species bacteraemia, Switzerland, 2008 to 2019: a molecular epidemiological study

Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2022 Mar 9;11(1):47. doi: 10.1186/s13756-022-01086-y.


Background: Agrobacterium spp. are infrequent agents of bloodstream infections linked to healthcare-associated outbreaks. However, it is unclear if outbreaks also occur across larger geographic areas. Triggered by two local clusters from putative point sources, our aim was to detect potential additional clusters in Switzerland.

Methods: We performed a nationwide descriptive study of cases in Switzerland based on a prospective surveillance system (Swiss Centre for Antibiotic Resistance,, from 2008 to 2019. We identified patients with Agrobacterium spp. isolated from blood cultures and used a survey to collect clinical-epidemiological information and susceptibility testing results. We performed whole genome sequencing (WGS) of available clinical isolates and determined their relatedness by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variant calling analysis.

Results: We identified a total of 36 cases of Agrobacterium spp. from blood samples over 10 years. Beyond previously known local clusters, no new ones were identified. WGS-based typing was performed on 22 available isolates and showed no clonal relationships between newly identified isolates or to those from the known clusters, with all isolates outside these clusters being at least 50 SNPs apart.

Conclusion and relevance: Agrobacterium spp. bacteraemia is infrequently detected and, given that it may be healthcare-associated and stem from a point source, occurrence of multiple episodes should entail an outbreak investigation. With the help of the national antimicrobial resistance surveillance system we identified multiple clinical cases of this rare pathogen but found no evidence by WGS that suggested a nation-wide outbreak.

Keywords: Agrobacterium species; Nosocomial; Outbreak; WGS.

MeSH terms

  • Agrobacterium*
  • Bacteremia* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Switzerland / epidemiology