Group B streptococci (GBS), a leading cause of neonatal sepsis and meningitis, are transferred to neonates from colonized mothers during childbirth. Prior studies using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) have found specific GBS clones (e.g., sequence type 17 [ST-17]) to be associated with neonatal disease in several geographic locations. Few population-based studies, however, have been conducted to determine the frequency of disease caused by specific GBS clones. MLST was used to assess the genetic diversity of 192 GBS strains from neonates and young children identified by population-based surveillance in Alberta, Canada, from 1993 to 2002. Comparisons were made to 232 GBS strains collected from colonized pregnant women, and all strains were characterized for one of nine capsule (cps) genotypes. A total of 47 STs were identified, and more than 80% of GBS strains were represented by 7 STs that have been shown to predominate in other populations. ST-17 and ST-19 were more prevalent in strains causing early onset disease (EOD) and late onset disease (LOD) than from pregnant women, whereas STs 1, 12, and 23 were more common in pregnant women. In addition, ST-17 strains and close relatives more frequently caused meningitis than sepsis and LOD versus EOD in this population of neonates. Further research is required to better understand why strains belonging to the ST-17 phylogenetic lineage are more likely to cause both LOD and meningitis and may provide clues into the pathogenesis of these conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)