The emergence of infection caused by invasive penicillinnonsusceptible (PNS) and multidrug-resistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae has become a worldwide concern, necessitating the epidemiologic surveillance of such strains.
One aim of this study was to identify clones of invasive PNS S pneumoniae among isolates in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The second aim was to compare these clones with international clones to track their spread in Saudi Arabia.
The phenotypes of invasive isolates characterized as S pneumoniae were determined using susceptibility testing and serotyping (capsular test and E-test). The genotypes of PNS isolates were determined using random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. The genetic relatedness of these local strains to the international widespread clones was investigated.
Of 296 S pneumoniae isolates identified using biochemical and culture characteristics, 89 (30.1%) were invasive. Susceptibility testing using the E-test revealed that 17 of the 89 invasive isolates (19.1%) were PNS. Most of the 89 isolates (89.9%) were resistant to sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim; 32.6% and 23.6% of isolates were resistant to chloramphenicol and tetracycline, respectively. All of the isolates (100.0%) were fully susceptible to ceftriaxone and vancomycin. Capsular serotyping of the 89 isolates showed that 19A (18.0%), 613 (14.6%), 23F (13.5%), 9V (11.2%), 14 (6.7%), 19F (5.6%), and 18C (4.5%) were the most predominant serogroups/serotypes. The 17 PNS strains were confirmed on polymerase chain reaction to have penicillin resistance genes. Of these 17 strains, international clone 19A-a was the most predominant (41.2%), followed by 6B-a (17.6%), and 23F-a and 9V-a (each, 11.8%).
The present study identified the spread of the 4 most commonPNS S pneumoniae isolates (clones)—19A, 613, 23F, and 9V-to Riyadh, but identified no new clones among patients having invasive infection with S pneumoniae in Riyadh. This study emphasizes that international PNS clones have contributed to the prevalence and spread of PNS pneumococci among the clinical isolates in Saudi Arabia.