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Zentralbl Bakteriol. 1991 Dec;276(1):94-106.

Scarlet fever and types of erythrogenic toxins produced by the infecting streptococcal strains.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Central Institute of Microbiology and Experimental Therapy, Jena.


Group A streptococcal strains were isolated from the throats of 46 children suffering from scarlet fever. For detection of erythrogenic toxins (ETs), the culture supernatants were concentrated 100 times by ethanol precipitation and solubilisation in acetate buffer. ELISA was used to identify ETA and double immunodiffusion to identify ETB and ETC. The presence of the ETA gene was detected by a specific DNA probe. ETA (alone or in combination with ETB and/or ETC) was found in 51.9% of the strains, ETB (alone or in combination with ETA and/or ETC) in 76.9% and ETC (in combination with ETA and ETB) in 28.9%. Only 5.8% of strains did not produce any detectable ET. In SDS-PAGE, supernatants of ETB-producing strains showed a pronounced band in either the region of the proteinase zymogen or the active proteinase. There was no correlation between the type of erythrogenic toxin and the serological M or T type of the producing strain. The mitogenic potency of culture supernatants did not differ significantly irrespective of the toxin type(s) present. Culture supernatants of strains without a detectable amount of the known ETs were highly mitogenic, indicating the production of other streptococcal mitogens. A correlation with clinical symptoms was determined with regard to exanthema and fever. Strains producing two or three toxins caused a more intense exanthema. Patient temperature was higher (greater than or equal to 38 degrees C) when the infecting strain produced ETB. The toxin-producing patterns of the strains of this study were compared with those isolated during the last epidemic outbreak of scarlet fever in East Germany.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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