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PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e4650. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004650. Epub 2009 Feb 27.

Emergence of respiratory Streptococcus agalactiae isolates in cystic fibrosis patients.

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Institute of Med. Microbiology and Hygiene University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


Streptococcus agalactiae is a well-known pathogen for neonates and immunocompromized adults. Beyond the neonatal period, S. agalactiae is rarely found in the respiratory tract. During 2002-2008 we noticed S. agalactiae in respiratory secretions of 30/185 (16%) of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The median age of these patients was 3-6 years older than the median age CF patients not harboring S. agalactiae. To analyze, if the S. agalactiae isolates from CF patients were clonal, further characterization of the strains was achieved by capsular serotyping, surface protein determination and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). We found a variety of sequence types (ST) among the isolates, which did not substantially differ from the MLST patterns of colonizing strains from Germany. However serotype III, which is often seen in colonizing strains and invasive infections was rare among CF patients. The emergence of S. agalactiae in the respiratory tract of CF patients may represent the adaptation to a novel host environment, supported by the altered surfactant composition in older CF patients.

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