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Can J Microbiol. 2003 Oct;49(10):633-8.

Characterization of Neisseria meningitidis strains isolated from invasive meningococcal disease cases in Canada in 2001.

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National Microbiology Laboratory, Health Canada, Winnipeg, MB.


With the recent introduction of polysaccharide-protein conjugated vaccines for the control of serogroup C meningococcal disease and the emergence of different variants of serogroup C meningococci, it is likely the epidemiology of meningococcal disease in many countries may be affected. We have therefore analysed and reported the characteristics of Neisseria meningitidis strains collected in 2001 from the Canadian surveillance program on invasive meningococcal disease. Only strains collected from normally sterile clinical sites of patients were studied. Of the 289 isolates obtained from individual patients, 173 (59.9%) were serogroup C, 76 (26.3%) were serogroup B, 30 (10.4%) were serogroup Y, and 10 (3.5%) were serogroup W135. Ninety-six percent of the serogroup C isolates belonged to the ET-15 clone, with an additional 2.3% belonging to other electrophoretic types within the ET-37 clonal complex. Different antigenic variants of the endemic serogroup C ET-15 clone were responsible for localized outbreaks in different parts of the country. One novel variant with the antigenic composition of C:2a:P1.1,7 was reported in two provinces, Quebec and Ontario. Eighteen percent of the meningococci isolated from patients in Ontario belonged to serogroup Y, compared with only 8% in the rest of Canada. The current data highlight the importance of strain characterization by serogroup, serotype, and serosubtype antigens in providing useful information for the surveillance of meningococcal disease in Canada.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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