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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Dec;43(12):6035-41.

Relationship between the original multiply resistant South African isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae from 1977 to 1978 and contemporary international resistant clones.

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  • 1Institute for Medical Microbiology, National Reference Center for Streptococci, University Hospital, RWTH, Pauwelsstrasse 30, Aachen, Germany. Reinert@rwth-aachen.de


High-level penicillin G-resistant as well as multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were first described in South Africa in 1977. The relationship between these original multidrug-resistant South African isolates and other resistant clones was investigated. Twenty-six representative isolates isolated from initial outbreaks in South Africa from 1977 to 1978 were characterized by multilocus sequence typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Twenty-one isolates were penicillin resistant and five were penicillin intermediate, with variable susceptibilities to macrolides, clindamycin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Fourteen isolates were serotype 19A, 11 were serotype 6A, and one was serotype 14. Penicillin-resistant serotype 19A isolates belonged to three closely related sequence types (STs), ST 41 (n = 6), ST 1605 (n = 3), and ST 1656 (n = 1). Penicillin-resistant serotype 6A isolates belonged to two closely related STs, ST 1094 (n = 10) and ST 1607 (n = 1), and were not closely related to other international clones. The serotype 14 penicillin-intermediate isolate was not closely related to the other isolates from South Africa but was a predicted founder of a clonal group with 41 different STs. Five new STs, ST 1605, ST 1607, ST 1608, ST 1610, and ST 1656, are described for the first time in this study. New molecular methods have characterized the original multiply resistant South African pneumococcal isolates from 1977 to 1978 and have shown the relationships of these clones to major pneumococcal clones.

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