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J Med Microbiol. 2007 Sep;56(Pt 9):1224-9.

Molecular characterization of serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis isolated in China.

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State Key Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Genetic Engineering, National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 100176, PR China.


An increase in the number of serogroup C meningococcal disease cases occurred in China from September 2003 to January 2006 as a result of several successive outbreaks. In addition, the proportion of serogroup C Neisseria meningitidis isolates from sporadic cases and carriers has also increased. In this study, 113 serogroup C meningococcal isolates were characterized by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and PorA typing. These isolates comprised those from outbreak cases and their close contacts, the national carriage survey conducted during the same period and some historical isolates from 1966-2002. Twenty MLST sequence types (STs) and 21 PorA variable region (VR) types were identified in the collection. The ST-4821 complex, a newly identified lineage, was the most prevalent lineage (95/113). These data also showed a high level of diversification of serogroup C isolates, as indicated by the number of variants of the ST-4821 clone and the VR types present. There were ten PorA VR types among the ST-4821 isolates, and certain VR types (P1.7-2,14, P1.12-1,16-8) were associated with isolates from outbreak cases. The results of this study allow us to draw a profile of the molecular characteristics of serogroup C strains in China. These data are helpful for monitoring the spread of virulent strains and will provide valuable information for the prevention of bacterial meningitis in China.

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