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1.  Epidemiology and Molecular Characterization of Macrolide-Resistant Streptococcus pyogenes in Taiwan 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(2):508-516.
Our multicenter nationwide surveillance data indicated that erythromycin (ERY) resistance among group A Streptococcus (GAS) isolates in Taiwan declined from 53.1% in 1998 and 2000 to 14.6% in 2002 and 2004 and 10.7% in 2006 to 2010 (P < 0.01). The present study aimed to assess the epidemiology of GAS in Taiwan and identify factors associated with ERY resistance. All 127 ERY-resistant (ERYr) isolates and 128 randomly selected ERY-susceptible (ERYs) isolates recovered from 1998 to 2010 were emm typed. ERYr isolates were also characterized by ERY resistance phenotype and mechanisms and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Multilocus sequence typing was performed on selected ERYr isolates. The predominant emm types in ERYr isolates were emm22 (n = 33, 26.0%), emm12 (n = 24, 18.9%), emm4 (n = 21, 16.5%), and emm106 (n = 15, 11.8%). In ERYs isolates, emm12 (n = 27, 21.9%), emm1 (n = 18, 14.1%), emm106 (n = 16, 12.5%), and emm11 (n = 9, 7.1%) predominated. The most common ERY resistance phenotype was the M phenotype (resistant to macrolides) (70.9%), with all but one isolate carrying mef(A), followed by the constitutive macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance (cMLSB) phenotype (26.8%), with isolates carrying erm(B) or erm(TR). ERYr isolates of the emm12-sequence type 36 (ST36) lineage with the cMLSB phenotype were mostly present before 2004, while those of the emm22-ST46 lineage with the M phenotype predominated in later years. Recovery from respiratory (throat swab) specimens was an independent factor associated with ERY resistance. emm1 and emm11 GAS isolates were significantly associated with ERYs, while emm22 was detected only in ERYr GAS. In addition, emm106 isolates were prevalent among the abscess/pus isolates, whereas emm12 isolates were strongly associated with a respiratory (throat) origin. In addition to identifying factors associated with ERY resistance in GAS, our study provides helpful information on the changing GAS epidemiology in Taiwan.
PMCID: PMC3911310  PMID: 24478481
2.  Phenotypic and Genotypic Characterization of Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Displaying the MLSB Phenotype of Macrolide Resistance in Spain, 1999 to 2005▿  
The aim of this study was to describe the genetic characteristics of Streptococcus pyogenes showing the MLSB phenotype of macrolide resistance from 1999 to 2005 in Spain and to highlight the substantial increase in these isolates in the last few years. The antimicrobial susceptibilities of 17,232 group A streptococci isolated from Madrid and Gipuzkoa from 1999 to 2005 were studied. The presence of the resistance genes ermA, ermB, mef, tetM, and tetO and the presence of the intTn and xis genes of the Tn916-Tn1545 transposon family were studied in a sample of 739 MLSB-resistant isolates. The epidemiological relationships among these isolates were analyzed by emm typing, T typing, and multilocus sequence typing. Erythromycin resistance was found in 21.3% of the isolates analyzed (annual variation of 14.3% to 28.9%). Until 2003, most erythromycin-resistant isolates showed the M phenotype, but in 2004 and 2005, about 50% of isolates showed the MLSB phenotype. Among the MLSB-resistant isolates studied, 16 clones were identified. The most prevalent clone was a strange emm11/T11/ST403 clone with a null yqiL allele. All but one of the 463 emm11/T11/ST403 isolates carried the ermB, tetM, intTn, and xis genes. The second most prevalent MLSB-resistant clone was emm28/T28/ST52, which comprised two subclones: one bacitracin-resistant, tetracycline-susceptible subclone carrying the ermB gene (n = 115) and another bacitracin-susceptible, tetracycline-resistant subclone carrying the ermB and tetM genes (n = 33). The rapid diffusion of these two clones, and especially of emm11/T11/ST403, caused the large increase in MLSB-resistant S. pyogenes isolates in Spain, suggesting a potential ability for international dissemination.
PMCID: PMC1855467  PMID: 17242142
3.  Seven-Year Surveillance of emm Types of Pediatric Group A Streptococcal Pharyngitis Isolates in Western Greece 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71558.
An experimental 26-valent M protein Group A streptococcal (GAS) vaccine has entered clinical studies. Pharyngeal GAS emm type surveillances in different areas and time-periods enhance the understanding of the epidemiology of GAS pharyngitis. Moreover, these surveillances, combined with the data on GAS invasive disease, can play a significant role in the formulation of multivalent type-specific vaccines.
During a 7-year period (1999–2005), 2408 GAS isolates were recovered from consecutive children with pharyngitis in Western Greece. The overall macrolide resistance rate was 22.8%. Along the study period we noted a tendency towards significantly decreased rates of resistance, with the lowest rates occurring in 2002 (15.3%), 2003 (15%) and 2004 (16.7%). A random sample of isolates from each year, 338 (61.7%) of the 548 macrolide-resistant and 205 (11%) of the macrolide-susceptible, underwent molecular analysis, including emm typing.
The 543 typed isolates had 28 different emm types. A statistically significant association was found between macrolide resistance and emm4, emm22 and emm77, whereas emm1, emm3, emm6, emm12, emm87 and emm89 were associated with macrolide susceptibility. A significant yearly fluctuation was observed in emm4, emm28 and emm77. The most common macrolide-resistant GAS were emm77 isolates harboring erm(A), either alone or in combination with mef(A), emm4 carrying mef(A), emm28 possessing erm(B), emm75 carrying mef(A), emm12 harboring mef(A) and emm22 carrying erm(A). We estimated that 82.8% of the isolates belonged to emm types included in the novel 26-valent M protein vaccine. The vaccine coverage rate was determined mainly by the increased frequency of nonvaccine emm4 isolates.
A limited number of emm types dominated among macrolide-susceptible and macrolide-resistant GAS isolates. We observed seasonal fluctuations, which were significant for emm4, emm28 and emm77. This type of data can serve as baseline information if the novel 26-valent M protein GAS vaccine is introduced into practice.
PMCID: PMC3747210  PMID: 23977078
4.  Macrolide and Tetracycline Resistance and emm Type Distribution of Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Recovered from Turkish Patients 
Microbial Drug Resistance  2010;16(4):279-284.
The aims of this study were to determine the susceptibilities to macrolide and tetracycline antibiotics and emm type distribution of Streptococcus pyogenes strains isolated in the Kocaeli University Hospital, Turkey. A total of 127 S. pyogenes clinical isolates were tested. Eleven (9%) isolates were resistant to erythromycin, and 23 (18%) isolates were resistant to tetracycline. Ten of the erythromycin-resistant isolates were also resistant to tetracycline. By the triple-disk test, all erythromycin-resistant isolates showed the inducible macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin-C phenotype and harbored erm(TR) gene. tet(O) was the most common tetracycline resistance gene. Among erythromycin-tetracycline coresistant isolates, seven harbored the tet(O) gene. emm 4, emm 1, emm 2,114, and emm 89 were the most common emm types. These isolates were more susceptible to erythromycin. There was considerable emm type heterogeneity in macrolide or tetracycline resistant isolates. According to our knowledge, this is the first study in which emm type distribution is investigated in Turkey. More comprehensive studies are needed to obtain true information about the epidemiology of macrolide and tetracycline resistance and emm type distribution in Turkey.
PMCID: PMC3124751  PMID: 20624096
5.  Resistance to Erythromycin and Telithromycin in Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Obtained between 1999 and 2002 from Greek Children with Tonsillopharyngitis: Phenotypic and Genotypic Analysis 
Since the late 1990s, the prevalence of erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes has significantly increased in several European countries. Between January 1999 and December 2002, 1,577 isolates of S. pyogenes were recovered from children with tonsillopharyngitis living in various areas of Western Greece. Erythromycin resistance was observed in 379 (24%) of the 1,577 isolates. All erythromycin-resistant strains along with 153 randomly selected erythromycin-susceptible S. pyogenes isolates were tested for their antimicrobial susceptibility, resistance phenotypes, and genotypes. Representative isolates underwent emm gene sequence typing. Isolates with reduced susceptibility to telithromycin (MIC, ≥2 μg/ml) were studied for multilocus sequence type, L22, L4, and 23S rRNA mutations. Of the total 379 erythromycin-resistant isolates, 193 (50.9%) harbored the mef(A) gene, 163 (43%) erm(A), 1 (0.3%) mef(A) plus erm(A), and 22 (5.8%) the erm(B) gene. Among the erythromycin-susceptible isolates, emm 1 (25%), emm 2 (12.5%), and emm 77 (12.5%) predominated. Furthermore, among the erythromycin-resistant isolates, emm 4 (30.6%), emm 28 (22.2%), and emm 77 (12.5%) prevailed. Resistance to telithromycin was observed in 22 (5.8%) of the erythromycin-resistant isolates. Sixteen (72.7%) of the 22 isolates appeared to be clonally related, since all of them belonged to emm type 28 and multilocus sequence type 52. One of the well-known mutations (T2166C) in 23S rRNA, as well as a new one (T2136C), was detected in erythromycin- and telithromycin-resistant isolates. High incidence of macrolide resistance and clonal spread of telithromycin resistance were the characteristics of the Greek S. pyogenes isolates obtained from 1999 to 2002.
PMCID: PMC1346824  PMID: 16377695
6.  Genotyping of erythromycin resistant group C & G streptococci isolated in Chennai, south India 
Background & objectives:
Increasing resistance to erythromycin has been observed worldwide in group C and group G streptococci (GCS/GGS). The information available from India is scanty. The aim of the study was to identify erythromycin resistant GCS/GGS isolates in Chennai, south India, and to compare erythromycin resistant genotypes with emm types.
One hundred and thirty one GCS/GGS isolates were tested for erythromycin resistance by disc diffusion and agar dilution methods. Erythromycin resistance genotypes [erm(A), erm(B) and mef(A)] were determined by a multiplex PCR. emm types of erythromycin resistant GCS/GGS isolates was also assessed using emm gene sequencing method.
Sixteen of the 131 isolates (12.21%) were resistant to erythromycin. Majority of the isolates were GGS (15/16). Eight of the 16 (50%) were S. dysgalactiae subsps. equisimilis. Twelve isolates (75%) were MLSB phenotype and four (25%) were M phenotype. Of the 12 isolates which exhibited MLSB resistance, seven showed cMLSB phenotype and were positive for erm(B) gene. The remaining five were iMLSB phenotype of which three were positive for erm(A) gene and two for erm(B) gene. erm(A) was common among carriers whereas erm(B) was common among clinical isolates.
Interpretation & conclusions:
MLSB was the predominant phenotype and erm(B) was the common genotype in the present study. The emm type stC1400.0 was frequently associated with erythromycin resistant GCS/GGS in our study.
PMCID: PMC3657882  PMID: 23481067
GCS/GGS; erythromycin resistance; erm(A); erm(B); mef(A)
7.  emm Types, Virulence Factors, and Antibiotic Resistance of Invasive Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates from Italy: What Has Changed in 11 Years?▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(7):2249-2256.
To investigate the epidemiology and characteristics of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) disease over 11 years in Italy, this study compared the emm types and the superantigen toxin genes speA and speC as well as the erythromycin, clindamycin, and tetracycline susceptibilities of 207 invasive GAS strains collected during two national enhanced surveillance periods (1994 to 1996 and 2003 to 2005) and the time between each set of surveillance periods. The present study demonstrated that emm1 strains were consistently responsible for about 20% of invasive GAS infections, while variations in the frequencies of the other types were noted, although the causes of most cases of invasive infections were restricted to emm1, emm3, emm4, emm6, emm12, and emm18. During the 1994 to 1996 surveillance period, an emm89 epidemic clone spread across the northern part of Italy. A restricted macrolide resistance phenotype-type distribution of the bacteriophage-encoded speA toxin as well as of macrolide resistance genes was noted over time. Indeed, the recent acquisition of macrolide resistance in previously susceptible emm types was observed.
PMCID: PMC1933002  PMID: 17494723
8.  Molecular characteristics of erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae from pediatric patients younger than five years in Beijing, 2010 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:228.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main pathogen that causes respiratory infections in children younger than five years. The increasing incidence of macrolide- and tetracycline-resistant pneumococci among children has been a serious problem in China for many years. The molecular characteristics of erythromycin-resistant pneumococcal isolates that were collected from pediatric patients younger than five years in Beijing in 2010 were analyzed in this study.
A total of 140 pneumococcal isolates were collected. The resistance rates of all isolates to erythromycin and tetracycline were 96.4% and 79.3%, respectively. Of the 135 erythromycin-resistant pneumococci, 91.1% were non-susceptible to tetracycline. In addition, 30.4% of the erythromycin-resistant isolates expressed both the ermB and mef genes, whereas 69.6% expressed the ermB gene but not the mef gene. Up to 98.5% of the resistant isolates exhibited the cMLSB phenotype, and Tn6002 was the most common transposon present in approximately 56.3% of the resistant isolates, followed by Tn2010, with a proportion of 28.9%. The dominant sequence types (STs) in all erythromycin-resistant S. pneumoniae were ST271 (11.9%), ST81 (8.9%), ST876 (8.9%), and ST320 (6.7%), whereas the prevailing serotypes were 19F (19.3%), 23F (9.6%), 14 (9.6%), 15 (8.9%), and 6A (7.4%). The 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) coverage of the erythromycin-resistant pneumococci among the children younger than five years were 45.2% and 62.2%, respectively. ST320 and serotype 19A pneumococci were common in children aged 0 to 2 years. CC271 was the most frequent clonal complex (CC), which accounts for 24.4% of all erythromycin-resistant isolates.
The non-invasive S. pneumoniae in children younger than five years in Beijing presented high and significant resistance rates to erythromycin and tetracycline. The expressions of ermB and tetM genes were the main factors that influence pneumococcal resistance to erythromycin and tetracycline, respectively. Majority of the erythromycin-resistant non-invasive isolates exhibited the cMLSB phenotype and carried the ermB, tetM, xis, and int genes, suggesting the spread of the transposons of the Tn916 family. PCV13 provided higher serotype coverage in the childhood pneumococcal diseases caused by the erythromycin-resistant isolates better than PCV7. Further long-term surveys are required to monitor the molecular characteristics of the erythromycin-resistant S. pneumoniae in children.
PMCID: PMC3534231  PMID: 23043378
9.  High Incidence of Macrolide and Tetracycline Resistance among Streptococcus Agalactiae Strains Isolated from Clinical Samples in Tehran, Iran 
Mædica  2014;9(2):157-161.
Streptococcus agalactiae or Group B Streptococci (GBS) is an important bacterial pathogen that causes a wide range of infections including neonatal sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia and soft tissue or urinary tract infections.
Material and methods:
One hundred and fifteen isolates of Streptococcus agalactiae collected from urine specimens of patients attending a hospital in Tehran. All isolates were screened for their capsular types and genes encoding resistance to the macrolide and tetracycline antibiotics by PCR and multiplex PCR–based methods.
Most of isolates belonged to capsular types III (49%), V (19%), II (16%), and Ib (6%). Twelve isolates (10%) were nontypable. All isolates were susceptible to penicillin and Quinupristin-dalfopristin, but were resistant to clindamycin (35%), chloramphenicol (45%), erythromycin (35%), linezolid (1%) and tetracycline (96%). The most prevalent antimicrobial resistance gene was tetM found in 93% of the isolates followed by ermTR, ermB, and tetK, found in 23%, 16%, and 16% of isolates, respectively. The genes, tetL, tetO, ermA, ermC and mefA were not detected in any of the S. agalactiae isolates. Of the 110 tetracycline resistant S. agalactiae, 89 isolates harbored the tetM gene alone and eighteen isolates carried the tetM gene with the tetK gene. All erythromycin-resistant isolates exhibited cMLSB resistance phenotype, 22 isolates harbored the ermTR gene alone and five isolates carried the ermTR gene with the ermB gene. The rate of coexistence of genes encoding the erythromycin and tetracycline resistance determinants was 34%.
The present study demonstrated that S. agalactiae isolates obtained from urine samples showed a high rate of resistance to tetracycline, chloramphenicol and macrolide antibiotics and were commonly associated with the resistance genes temM, ermTR or ermB.
PMCID: PMC4296758
Streptococcus agalactiae; capsular type; ermTR; tetM
10.  Differences between Macrolide-Resistant and -Susceptible Streptococcus pyogenes: Importance of Clonal Properties in Addition to Antibiotic Consumption 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(11):5661-5666.
A steady decline in macrolide resistance among Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococci [GAS]) in Portugal was reported during 1999 to 2006. This was accompanied by alterations in the prevalence of macrolide resistance phenotypes and in the clonal composition of the population. In order to test whether changes in the macrolide-resistant population reflected the same changing patterns of the overall population, we characterized both macrolide-susceptible and -resistant GAS associated with a diagnosis of tonsillo-pharyngitis recovered in the period from 2000 to 2005 in Portugal. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiling was the best predictor of emm type and the only typing method that could discriminate clones associated with macrolide resistance and susceptibility within each emm type. Six PFGE clusters were significantly associated with macrolide susceptibility: T3-emm3-ST406, T4-emm4-ST39, T1-emm1-ST28, T6-emm6-ST382, B3264-emm89-ST101/ST408, and T2-emm2-ST55. Four PFGE clusters were associated with macrolide resistance: T4-emm4-ST39, T28-emm28-ST52, T12-emm22-ST46, and T1-emm1-ST28. We found no evidence for frequent ongoing horizontal transfer of macrolide resistance determinants. The diversity of the macrolide-resistant population was lower than that of susceptible isolates. The differences found between the two populations suggest that the macrolide-resistant population of GAS has its own dynamics, independent of the behavior of the susceptible population.
PMCID: PMC3486545  PMID: 22908153
11.  Group A Streptococci from Invasive-Disease Episodes in Poland Are Remarkably Divergent at the Molecular Level▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(11):3975-3979.
Forty-one clinical isolates of group A streptococcus (GAS) were recovered in Poland from patients with severe invasive infections and were analyzed by phenotypic and genotypic techniques. All isolates were characterized by determining their susceptibilities to antimicrobial agents and by determining their types by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, multilocus sequence typing, emm typing, and the detection of five streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin genes (speA, speB, speC, speF, ssa). The isolates studied were fully susceptible to penicillin G, levofloxacin, quinupristin-dalfopristin, and linezolid. Resistance to tetracycline, chloramphenicol, and erythromycin was detected in 46.3, 12.1, and 9.8% of the isolates, respectively. A total of 23 different emm sequence types were identified, of which emm1 and emm12 (19.5% each) were the most common, followed by emm81, emm44/61, and emm85. All the emm1 isolates had the speA2 allele. Twenty-three unrelated sequence types (STs) were identified, with the most frequent STs, ST28 and ST36, corresponding to emm1 and emm12, respectively. Six newly found STs (STs 375, 376, 377, 378, 379, and 385) corresponded to emm types 74, 102, 77, 76, 84 and 63, respectively. The emm1 type and the presence of speA2 gene were associated with the severity of GAS infections. This work presents the first molecular study on Polish invasive GAS isolates.
PMCID: PMC1698320  PMID: 16957033
12.  Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Causing Severe Infections in Norway in 2006 to 2007: emm Types, Multilocus Sequence Types, and Superantigen Profiles ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;48(3):842-851.
To investigate the epidemiological patterns and genetic characteristics of disease caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS), all available isolates from invasive cases in Norway during 2006 to 2007 (262 isolates) were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, T serotyping, emm typing, and multilocus sequence typing and screened for known streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin (Spe) genes, smeZ, and ssa. The average incidence rate was 3.1 cases per 100,000 individuals. The most prevalent sequence types (STs) were STs 52, 28, and 334. In association with emm types 28, 77, and 87, the serotype T-28 comprised 24.8% of the strains. emm types 28, 1, and 82 were dominating. In 2007, a sharp increase in the number of emm-6 strains was noted. All strains were sensitive to penicillin and quinupristin-dalfopristin, while 3.4% and 6.1% of the strains were resistant to macrolides and tetracycline, respectively. Furthermore, the emm-6 strains had intermediate susceptibility to ofloxacin. Isolates displayed a wide variety of gene profiles, as shown by the presence or absence of the Spe genes, smeZ, and ssa, but 48% of the isolates fell into one of three profiles. In most cases, an emm type was restricted to one gene profile. Although the incidence decreased during this study, invasive GAS disease still has a high endemic rate, with involvement of both established and emerging emm types displaying variability in virulence gene profiles as well as differences in gender and age group preferences.
PMCID: PMC2832411  PMID: 20042624
13.  Reemergence of Macrolide Resistance in Pharyngeal Isolates of Group A Streptococci in Southwestern Pennsylvania 
We previously reported on the emergence of macrolide-resistant pharyngeal isolates of group A streptococci (GAS) in our community. The purpose of the present study was to track longitudinal trends in macrolide resistance in these isolates in southwestern Pennsylvania. Testing for susceptibility to erythromycin and clindamycin was performed for all pharyngeal GAS isolates recovered at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and a local pediatric practice between September 2001 and May 2002. Macrolide resistance phenotypes and genotypes were determined by double-disk diffusion and PCR, respectively. Strain relatedness was determined by field inversion gel electrophoresis and emm gene sequence typing. A total of 708 isolates of GAS were recovered during the study period; 68 (9.6%) were macrolide resistant, while all isolates were sensitive to clindamycin. The monthly prevalence of macrolide resistance ranged from 0 to 41%. Only 21 of 573 (3.7%) strains recovered from September 2001 through March 2002 were macrolide resistant. A sudden increase in the rate of macrolide resistance (47 of 135 isolates [35%]) was seen in April and May 2002. Sixty-two isolates demonstrated the M phenotype (resistance to macrolide antibiotics), and six isolates demonstrated the MLSB phenotype (resistance to most macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B antibiotics); these isolates were confirmed to be mef(A) and erm(A), respectively. Three unique mef(A) clones and four unique erm(A) clones were identified among the resistant isolates. The MIC at which 50% of isolates are inhibited (MIC50) for the mef(A) strains was 16 μg/ml, while the MIC50 for erm(A) strains was 8 μg/ml. The finding of high levels of macrolide resistance among pharyngeal isolates of GAS for a second successive year in our community raises the concern that this problem may be more common in the United States than was previously appreciated. Longitudinal surveillance of isolates from multiple centers is needed to define the prevalence of antimicrobial agent-resistant GAS in the United States.
PMCID: PMC321548  PMID: 14742197
14.  Prevalence and Clonal Characterization of Streptococcus pyogenes Clinical Isolates with Reduced Fluoroquinolone Susceptibility in Spain ▿  
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of non-fluoroquinolone (FQ)-susceptible Streptococcus pyogenes isolates and to study their mechanisms of resistance. We performed a prospective prevalence study with 468 isolates collected from 2005 to 2007 and a retrospective study that was based on the examination of existing data collected from 1999 to 2008. The retrospective study included data for isolates with high-level resistance (HR) to ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 32 μg/ml) (HR isolates) and isolates with the same emm types as those reported in the literature with low-level resistance (LR) to ciprofloxacin (MICs, 2 to 8 μg/ml) (LR isolates, n = 205). Genetic characterization of the isolates was performed by means of emm typing and multilocus sequence typing. The prevalence of LR ranged from 1.9% in 2005 to 30.8% in 2007. This increase was mainly due to the circulation of an emm6 subtype (emm6.4) that represented 77.1% of the LR isolates in 2007. Notably, another emm6 subtype, also detected in 2007 (emm6.37), showed coresistance to 14- and 15-membered macrolides mediated by the mefA gene. Only three HR isolates were detected (isolates emm68.1/ST247/T3,13,B3264, emm77/ST399/T28, and emm28/ST52/T28), and all were identified in the retrospective study. Overall, the 673 isolates represented 25 emm types. All LR isolates were clustered into two emm types: emm6 (six emm6 subtypes) and emm75. All the 156 emm6 isolates had LR, harbored the Ser79/Ala mutation in the parC gene product, and had the same sequence type (ST), ST382. Most (21/33) of the emm75 isolates had LR, showed the Ser79/Phe plus Asp91/Asn double mutation in the parC gene product, and were ST150. The Asp91/Asn mutation by itself did not confer resistance to FQs.
PMCID: PMC2798512  PMID: 19805559
15.  Clinical and Epidemiological Aspects of Invasive Streptococcus pyogenes Infections in Denmark during 2003 and 2004▿  
Active surveillance of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) infections was conducted in Denmark during 2003 and 2004 as a part of the Strep-EURO initiative. The main objective was to improve understanding of the epidemiology of invasive GAS disease in Denmark. During the 2 years, 278 cases were reported, corresponding to a mean annual incidence of 2.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The vast majority of isolates, 253 (91%), were from blood, with the remaining 25 (9%) being from cerebrospinal fluid, joints, or other normally sterile sites. The mean case fatality rate (CFR) was 20%, with the rate being higher in patients more than 70 years of age (36.5%). For streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) and necrotizing fasciitis the CFRs were 53% and 25%, respectively. Out of 16 T types recorded, three predominated: T28 (23%), T1 (22%), and the cluster T3/13/B3264 (14%). Among 29 different emm types, emm28 and emm1 accounted for 51% of strains, followed by emm3 (11%), emm89 (7%), and emm12 (5.5%). Low resistance rates were detected for macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSB) antibiotics (3%) and tetracycline (8%); two isolates exhibited coresistance to tetracycline and macrolides. Of nine pyrogenic exotoxin (superantigen) genes examined, speA and speC were identified in 58% and 40% of the strains, respectively; either of the genes was present in all strains causing STSS. Most strains harbored speG (99%). ssa was present in 14% of the isolates only. In Denmark, as in comparable countries, GAS invasive disease shows a sustained, high endemicity, with involvement of both established and emerging streptococcal emm and T types.
PMCID: PMC2224248  PMID: 17959766
16.  Polyclonal Population Structure of Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates in Spain Carrying mef and mef plus erm(B)▿  
The population structure (serotypes, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis [PFGE] types, and multilocus sequencing types) of 45 mef-positive Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates [carrying mef alone (n = 17) or with the erm(B) gene n = 28)] were studied. They were selected from among all erythromycin-resistant isolates (n = 244) obtained from a collection of 712 isolates recovered from different Spanish geographic locations in the prevaccination period from 1999 to 2003. The overall rates of resistance (according to the criteria of the CLSI) among the 45 mef-positive isolates were as follows: penicillin G, 82.2%; cefotaxime, 22.2%; clindamycin, 62.2%; and tetracycline, 68.8% [mainly in isolates carrying erm(B) plus mef(E); P < 0.001]. No levofloxacin or telithromycin resistance was found. Macrolide resistance phenotypes (as determined by the disk diffusion approximation test) were 37.7% for macrolide resistance [with all but one due to mef(E)] and 62.2% for constitutive macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance [cMLSB; with all due to mef(E) plus erm(B)]. Serotypes 14 (22.2%), 6B (17.7%), 19A (13.3%), and 19F (11.1%) were predominant. Twenty-five different DNA patterns (PFGE types) were observed. Our mef-positive isolates were grouped (by eBURST analysis) into four clonal complexes (n = 18) and 19 singleton clones (n = 27). With the exception of clone Spain9V-3, all clonal complexes (clonal complexes 6B, Spain6B-2, and Sweden15A-25) and 73.6% of singleton clones carried both the erm(B) and the mef(E) genes. The international multiresistant clones Spain23F-1 and Poland6B-20 were represented as singleton clones. A high proportion of mef-positive S. pneumoniae isolates presented the erm(B) gene, with all isolates expressing the cMLSB phenotype. A polyclonal population structure was demonstrated within our Spanish mef-positive S. pneumoniae isolates, with few clonal complexes overrepresented within this collection.
PMCID: PMC2415790  PMID: 18362188
17.  Emergence of Erythromycin- and Clindamycin-Resistant Streptococcus pyogenes emm 90 Strains in Hawaii▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;49(1):439-441.
We identified 12 erythromycin- and clindamycin-resistant emm 90 group A streptococcus (GAS) isolates during a retrospective invasive disease survey in Hawaii. A comparison with 20 type-matched isolates showed all resistant isolates to be emm 90.4b with the constitutive or inducible macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance phenotype (cMLSB or iMLSB). All isolates had the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern, suggesting clonal spread.
PMCID: PMC3020461  PMID: 21068284
18.  Association of the shuffling of Streptococcus pyogenes clones and the fluctuation of scarlet fever cases between 2000 and 2006 in central Taiwan 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:115.
The number of scarlet fever occurrences reported between 2000 and 2006 fluctuated considerably in central Taiwan and throughout the nation. Isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes were collected from scarlet fever patients in central Taiwan and were characterized by emm sequencing and a standardized pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) method. National weekly report data were collected for investigating epidemiological trends.
A total of 23 emm types were identified in 1,218 S. pyogenes isolates. The five most prevalent emm types were emm12 (50.4%), emm4 (23.2%), emm1 (16.4%), emm6 (3.8%) and emm22 (3.0%). PFGE analysis with SmaI suggested that, with a few exceptions, strains with a common emm type belonged to the same clone. There were two large emm12 clones, one with DNA resistant to cleavage by SmaI. Each prevalent emm clone had major PFGE strain(s) and many minor strains. Most of the minor strains emerged in the population and disappeared soon after. Even some major strains remained prevalent for only 2–3 years before declining. The large fluctuation of scarlet fever cases between 2000 and 2006 was associated with the shuffling of six prevalent emm clones. In 2003, the dramatic drop in scarlet fever cases in central Taiwan and throughout the whole country was associated with the occurrence of a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that occurred between late-February and mid-June in Taiwan.
The occurrences of scarlet fever in central Taiwan in 2000–2006 were primarily caused by five emm types, which accounted for 96.8% of the isolates collected. Most of the S. pyogenes strains (as defined by PFGE genotypes) emerged and lasted for only a few years. The fluctuation in the number of scarlet fever cases during the seven years can be primarily attributed to the shuffling of six prevalent emm clones and to the SARS outbreak in 2003.
PMCID: PMC2697166  PMID: 19486515
19.  Clinical and Microbiological Characteristics of Severe Streptococcus pyogenes Disease in Europe▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(4):1155-1165.
In an attempt to compare the epidemiology of severe Streptococcus pyogenes infection within Europe, prospective data were collected through the Strep-EURO program. Surveillance for severe cases of S. pyogenes infection diagnosed during 2003 and 2004 was undertaken in 11 countries across Europe by using a standardized case definition and questionnaire. Patient data as well as bacterial isolates were collected and characterized by T and M/emm typing, and selected strains were analyzed for the presence of superantigen genes. Data were analyzed to compare the clinical and microbiological patterns of the infections across the participating countries. A total of 4,353 isolates were collected from 5,521 cases with severe S. pyogenes infections who were identified. A wide diversity of M/emm types (n = 104) was found among the S. pyogenes clinical isolates, but the M/emm type distribution varied broadly between participating countries. The 10 most predominant M/emm types were M/emm type 1 (M/emm1), M/emm28, M/emm3, M/emm89, M/emm87, M/emm12, M/emm4, M/emm83, M/emm81, and M/emm5, in descending order. A correlation was found between some specific disease manifestations, the age of the patients, and the emm types. Although streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis were caused by a large number of types, they were particularly associated with M/emm1 and M/emm3. The emm types included in the 26-valent vaccine under development were generally well represented in the present material; 16 of the vaccine types accounted for 69% of isolates. The Strep-EURO collaborative program has contributed to enhancement of the knowledge of the spread of invasive disease caused by S. pyogenes within Europe and encourages future surveillance by the notification of cases and the characterization of strains, which are important for vaccination strategies and other health care issues.
PMCID: PMC2668334  PMID: 19158266
20.  Erythromycin Resistance Genes in Group A Streptococci in Finland 
Streptococcus pyogenes isolates (group A streptococcus) of different erythromycin resistance phenotypes were collected from all over Finland in 1994 and 1995 and studied; they were evaluated for their susceptibilities to 14 antimicrobial agents (396 isolates) and the presence of different erythromycin resistance genes (45 isolates). The erythromycin-resistant isolates with the macrolide-resistant but lincosamide- and streptogramin B-susceptible phenotype (M phenotype) were further studied for their plasmid contents and the transferability of resistance genes. Resistance to antimicrobial agents other than macrolides, clindamycin, tetracycline, and chloramphenicol was not found. When compared to our previous study performed in 1990, the rate of resistance to tetracycline increased from 10 to 93% among isolates with the inducible resistance (IR) phenotype of macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B (MLSB) resistance. Tetracycline resistance was also found among 75% of the MLSB-resistant isolates with the constitutive resistance (CR) phenotype. Resistance to chloramphenicol was found for the first time in S. pyogenes in Finland; 3% of the isolates with the IR phenotype were resistant. All the chloramphenicol-resistant isolates were also resistant to tetracycline. Detection of erythromycin resistance genes by PCR indicated that, with the exception of one isolate with the CR phenotype, all M-phenotype isolates had the macrolide efflux (mefA) gene and all the MLSB-resistant isolates had the erythromycin resistance methylase (ermTR) gene; the isolate with the CR phenotype contained the ermB gene. No plasmid DNA could be isolated from the M-phenotype isolates, but the mefA gene was transferred by conjugation.
PMCID: PMC89019  PMID: 9869564
21.  In Vitro Activity of the New Ketolide Telithromycin Compared with Those of Macrolides against Streptococcus pyogenes: Influences of Resistance Mechanisms and Methodological Factors 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2000;44(11):2999-3002.
One hundred and seven clinical isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes, 80 susceptible to macrolides and 27 resistant to erythromycin A (MIC >0.5 μg/ml), were examined. The erythromycin A-lincomycin double-disk test assigned 7 resistant strains to the M-phenotype, 8 to the inducible macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B resistance (iMLSB) phenotype, and 12 to the constitutive MLSB resistance (cMLSB) phenotype. MICs of erythromycin A, clarithromycin, azithromycin, roxithromycin, and clindamycin were determined by a broth microdilution method. MICs of telithromycin were determined by three different methods (broth microdilution, agar dilution, and E-test methods) in an ambient air atmosphere and in a 5 to 6% CO2 atmosphere. Erythromycin A resistance genes were investigated by PCR in the 27 erythromycin A-resistant isolates. MICs of erythromycin A and clindamycin showed six groups of resistant strains, groups A to F. iMLSB strains (A, B, and D groups) are characterized by two distinct patterns of resistance correlated with genotypic results. A- and B-group strains were moderately resistant to 14- and 15-membered ring macrolides and highly susceptible to telithromycin. All A- and B-group isolates harbored erm TR gene, D-group strains, highly resistant to macrolides and intermediately resistant to telithromycin (MICs, 1 to 16 μg/ml), were all characterized by having the ermB gene. All M-phenotype isolates (C group), resistant to 14- and 15-membered ring macrolides and susceptible to clindamycin and telithromycin, harbored the mefA gene. All cMLSB strains (E and F groups) with high level of resistance to macrolides, lincosamide, and telithromycin had the ermB gene. The effect of 5 to 6% CO2 was remarkable on resistant strains, by increasing MICs of telithromycin from 1 to 6 twofold dilutions against D-E- and F-group isolates.
PMCID: PMC101592  PMID: 11036012
22.  emm Gene Distribution among Erythromycin-Resistant and -Susceptible Italian Isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(3):1307-1310.
The phenotypes and genetic determinants for macrolide resistance were determined for 167 erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes strains. A cMLS phenotype was shown in 18% of the erythromycin-resistant strains, while inducible resistance was apparent in 31% and the M phenotype was apparent in 50%. The emm gene type of this set of resistant isolates and that of 48 erythromycin-sensitive isolates were determined. emm2 and emm48 were recorded only in the resistant strains of the M phenotype, while approximately all of the strains harboring the emm22 gene had the cMLS phenotype. More than 80% of the emm89-positive strains had the iMLS phenotype, and the same portion of emm4 strains presented the M phenotype. emm3 is recorded only among sensitive strains. The distribution of frequencies of the genetic determinant for the virulence factor M protein was significantly different both among organisms of different types of resistance and between resistant and sensitive populations of S. pyogenes under study.
PMCID: PMC150311  PMID: 12624074
23.  Serotypes, Clones, and Mechanisms of Resistance of Erythromycin-Resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates Collected in Spain▿  
The aim of this study was to analyze the distributions of antibiotic susceptibility patterns, serotypes, phenotypes, genotypes, and macrolide resistance genes among 125 nonduplicated erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae clinical isolates collected in a Spanish point prevalence study. The prevalence of resistance to macrolides in this study was 34.7%. Multiresistance (to three or more antimicrobials) was observed in 81.6% of these strains. Among 15 antimicrobials studied, cefotaxime, moxifloxacin, telithromycin, and quinupristin-dalfopristin were the most active drugs. The most frequent serotypes of erythromycin-resistant isolates were 19F (25%), 19A (17%), 6B (12%), 14 (10%), and 23F (10%). Of the 125 strains, 109 (87.2%) showed the MLSB phenotype [103 had the erm(B) gene and 6 had both erm(B) and mef(E) genes]. Sixteen (12.8%) strains showed the M phenotype [14 with mef(E) and 2 with mef(A)]. All isolates were tested by PCR for the presence of the int, xis, tnpR, and tnpA genes associated with conjugative transposons (Tn916 family and Tn917). Positive detection of erm(B), tet(M), int, and xis genes related to the Tn916 family was found in 77.1% of MLSB phenotype strains. In 16 strains, only the tndX, erm(B), and tet(M) genes were detected, suggesting the presence of Tn1116, a transposon recently described for Streptococcus pyogenes. Five clones, namely, Sweden15A-25, clone19F ST87, Spain23F-1, Spain6B-2, and clone19A ST276, accounted for half of the MLSB strains. In conclusion, the majority of erythromycin-resistant pneumococci isolated in Spain had the MLSB phenotype, belonged to multiresistant international clones, and carried the erm(B), tet(M), xis, and int genes, suggesting the spread of transposons of the Tn916 family.
PMCID: PMC2043242  PMID: 17606677
24.  Phenotypic and genotypic study of macrolide, lincosamide and streptogramin B (MLSB) resistance in clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus in Tehran, Iran 
Resistance to antimicrobial agents among Staphylococcus aureus is an increasing problem. Two common genes responsible for resistance to macrolide, lincosamide and streptogramin B (MLSB) antibiotics are the ermA and ermC genes. Three resistance phenotypes have been detected to these antibiotics: strains containing cMLSB (constitutive MLSB) and iMLSB (inducible MLSB), which are resistant to macrolide, lincosamide and streptogramin B antibiotics, and MS, which is only resistant to macrolide and streptogramin B antibiotics. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of MLSB phenotypes and genotypes in erythromycin-resistant strains of S. aureus isolated from patients in 4 university hospitals in Tehran, Iran.
S. aureus strains were isolated from various clinical specimens and identified by routine phenotypic methods and PCR for nuc gene. Erythromycin resistance was determined by disk diffusion testing. Prevalence of MLSB phenotypes was determined by use of the D-test. ermA and ermC genes were detected by PCR.
Altogether, 126 erythromycin-resistant strains of S. aureus were detected. Prevalence of cMLSB, iMLSB and MS resistance phenotypes were 92.8%, 6.4%, and 0.8%, respectively; 60.3% of strains had ermA gene and 54.8% ermC gene; 61 strains (48.4%) contained 2 studied erm genes and 42 strains (33.3%) did not have any studied erm genes.
Due to the high prevalence of clindamycin resistance among S. aureus isolated from patients in Iran, we recommend clindamycin therapy only after proper antimicrobial susceptibility testing.
PMCID: PMC3524716  PMID: 21278685
clindamycin; D-test; ermA; ermC; erythromycin; Staphylococcus aureus
25.  Streptococcus agalactiae in Brazil: serotype distribution, virulence determinants and antimicrobial susceptibility 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:323.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) remains a major cause of neonatal sepsis and is also associated with invasive and noninvasive infections in pregnant women and non-pregnant adults, elderly and patients with underlying medical conditions. Ten capsular serotypes have been recognized, and determination of their distribution within a specific population or geographical region is important as they are major targets for the development of vaccine strategies. We have evaluated the characteristics of GBS isolates recovered from individuals with infections or colonization by this microorganism, living in different geographic regions of Brazil.
A total of 434 isolates were identified and serotyped by conventional phenotypic tests. The determination of antimicrobial susceptibility was performed by the disk diffusion method. Genes associated with resistance to erythromycin (ermA, ermB, mefA) and tetracycline (tetK, tetL, tetM, tetO) as well as virulence-associated genes (bac, bca, lmb, scpB) were investigated using PCR. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to examine the genetic diversity of macrolide-resistant and of a number of selected macrolide-susceptible isolates.
Overall, serotypes Ia (27.6%), II (19.1%), Ib (18.7%) and V (13.6%) were the most predominant, followed by serotypes IV (8.1%) and III (6.7%). All the isolates were susceptible to the beta-lactam antimicrobials tested and 97% were resistant to tetracycline. Resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin were found in 4.1% and 3% of the isolates, respectively. Among the resistance genes investigated, tetM (99.3%) and tetO (1.8%) were detected among tetracycline-resistant isolates and ermA (39%) and ermB (27.6%) were found among macrolide-resistant isolates. The lmb and scpB virulence genes were detected in all isolates, while bac and bca were detected in 57 (13.1%) and 237 (54.6%) isolates, respectively. Molecular typing by PFGE showed that resistance to erythromycin was associated with a variety of clones.
These findings indicate that GBS isolates circulating in Brazil have a variety of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, and suggest that macrolide-resistant isolates may arise by both clonal spread and independent acquisition of resistance genes.
PMCID: PMC4061772  PMID: 24919844

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