Routine infectious disease surveillance is increasingly based on large-scale whole-genome sequencing databases. Real-time surveillance would benefit from immediate assignments of each genome assembly to hierarchical population structures. Here we present pHierCC, a pipeline that defines a scalable clustering scheme, HierCC, based on core genome multi-locus typing that allows incremental, static, multi-level cluster assignments of genomes. We also present HCCeval, which identifies optimal thresholds for assigning genomes to cohesive HierCC clusters. HierCC was implemented in EnteroBase in 2018 and has since genotyped >530 000 genomes from Salmonella, Escherichia/Shigella, Streptococcus, Clostridioides, Vibrio and Yersinia.

Availability and implementation and Source code and instructions:

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.