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Advances in typing methodologies have been the driving force in the field of molecular epidemiology of pathogens. The development of molecular methodologies, and more recently of DNA sequencing methods to complement and improve phenotypic identification methods, was accompanied by the generation of large amounts of data and the need to develop ways of storing and analysing them. Simultaneously, advances in computing allowed the development of specialised algorithms for image analysis, data sharing and integration, and for mining the ever larger amounts of accumulated data. In this review, we will discuss how bioinformatics accompanied the changes in bacterial molecular epidemiology. We will discuss the benefits for public health of specialised online typing databases and algorithms allowing for real-time data analysis and visualisation. The impact of the new and disruptive next-generation sequencing methodologies will be evaluated, and we will look ahead into these novel challenges.


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