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J Clin Microbiol. Aug 1997; 35(8): 2111–2114.
PMCID: PMC229913

Molecular epidemiology of Streptococcus pyogenes in an area where acute pharyngotonsillitis is endemic.


During an open clinical trial in an area where streptococcal infections are hyperendemic, we studied the genetic polymorphism of Streptococcus pyogenes isolates collected from patients and from healthy carriers living in close contact with them. The clonal diversity of isolates was analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with three restriction enzymes (SmaI, ApaI, and SacII). The pharynx of each patient and healthy carrier was colonized by a single clone, suggesting the clonal nature of streptococcal colonization in individuals. Among 52 isolates obtained from patients with acute pharyngotonsillitis, we found 14 genetically unrelated clones, showing the genetic diversity of S. pyogenes. However, two clones belonging to the M1 and M12 serotypes represented about 70% of isolates in carriers and patients. Pharyngeal colonization in cured patients was monitored for 3 to 4 months. After the initial elimination of S. pyogenes following antibiotic therapy, the rate of recolonization was high by day 30 (about 20%) and was also at that level between days 90 and 120; this was similar to the carriage rate in family contacts. Thus, cured patients can be recontaminated by unrelated clones, suggesting that colonization of healthy carriers might be a potential source of spread and redistribution of S. pyogenes isolates.

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Selected References

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