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Infect Immun. 2007 Jul;75(7):3673-9. Epub 2007 Apr 23.

Dynamics in prophage content of invasive and noninvasive M1 and M28 Streptococcus pyogenes isolates in The Netherlands from 1959 to 1996.

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Medical Microbiology and Immunology, St. Antonius Hospital, Koekoekslaan 1, 3430 EM Nieuwegein, The Netherlands.


Invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) disease re-emerged in The Netherlands in the late 1980s. To seek an explanation for this resurgence, the genetic compositions of 22 M1 and 19 M28 GAS strains isolated in The Netherlands between 1960s and the mid-1990s were analyzed by using a mixed-genome DNA microarray. During this four-decade period, M1 and especially M28 strains acquired prophages on at least eight occasions. All prophages carried a superantigen (speA2, speC, speK) or a streptodornase (sdaD2, sdn), both associated with invasive GAS disease. Invasive and noninvasive GAS strains did not differ in prophage acquisition, suggesting that there was an overall increase in the pathogenicity of M1 and M28 strains over the last four decades rather than emergence of hypervirulent subclones. The increased overall pathogenic potential may have contributed to the reemergence of invasive GAS disease in The Netherlands.

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