Description of macrolide-resistant and potential virulent clones of Streptococcus pyogenes causing asymptomatic colonization during 2000-2006 in the Lisbon area

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The asymptomatic oropharyngeal colonization rate by Streptococcus pyogenes was 10.7% in children (901 among 8,405 children 0-16 years old) and 3.3% in adults (37 among 1,126 households of children) in the Lisbon area during 2000-2006. Macrolide-resistant S. pyogenes from children (n = 149) was variable with time: 9.8-10.7% in 2000-2002, 28.1% in 2003, 19.6-2.7% in 2004-2005 and 14.6% in 2006. Eight lineages (97.3% of isolates) were identified based on at least 80% similarity of PFGE patterns, T types, emm types and multilocus sequence types (ST). The elevated frequency of macrolide resistance was associated with M phenotype lineages I (emm12/ST36) and V (emm4, emm75/ST39 and a novel emmstMrp6 type) and with one cMLS(B) lineage IV (emm28/ST52) known to be associated with upper respiratory tract and invasive infections. Significant associations (p < 0.05) between emm type/virulence genotype were found, such as emm1/speA (+) ssa (-), emm4/ssa (+) prtF1 (+), emm12/speA (-) ssa (-). The high prevalence (>20%) of speC, prtF1 or ssa was probably caused either by clonal dissemination (speC), or to horizontal gene transfer events (prtF1 and ssa). This report contributes to a better understanding of the molecular epidemiology and evolution of macrolide-resistant S. pyogenes causing symptom-free oropharyngeal colonization. These colonizing strains carry macrolide resistance and virulence genes capable of being transferred to other bacterial species sharing the same niche.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)849-857
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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