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J Infect Dis. 1999 Aug;180(2):410-8.

Invasive group A streptococcal infections: T1M1 isolates expressing pyrogenic exotoxins A and B in combination with selective lack of toxin-neutralizing antibodies are associated with increased risk of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Immunology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden.


Analysis of 132 group A streptococcal (GAS) isolates from 151 invasive episodes, including streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), from 1983 to 1995 showed great genetic variation by use of T serotyping in combination with restriction fragment length polymorphism. In contrast, genetically homogenous T1M1 isolates appeared in epidemic patterns with significantly increased risk of STSS. The speA gene, with the allelic variants speA2 and speA3 carried by the T1M1 and T3M3 serotypes, respectively, was strongly associated with STSS. Infection with a GAS isolate carrying speA, alcohol abuse, and malignancy recently treated with cytostatic drugs were factors independently related to STSS. Neutralization of SpeA lymphocyte mitogenicity was totally absent in sera from patients with STSS and low in sera from persons with uncomplicated bacteremia compared with levels in sera from uncomplicated erysipelas. Neutralization of SpeB was significantly lower in sera of patients with STSS than in sera from persons with bacteremia or erysipelas.

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