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Microbes Infect. 2011 Jul;13(7):684-90. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2011.02.006. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Detection of a geographical and endemic cluster of hyper-invasive meningococcal strains.

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National Reference Centre for Neisseria meningitidis, Bacterial Diseases Division, Communicable and Infectious Diseases, Scientific Institute of Public Health, J. Wytsman Street, 14-16, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


From 2006 to December 2009, 45 out of the 513 strains isolated from patients with invasive meningococcal disease in Belgium, were identified as Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B, non-serotypeable, subtype P1.14 (B:NT:P1.14). Most cases were geographically clustered in the northern part of the country. Multilocus Sequence Typing and antigen gene sequencing combined with Pulsed-Field Gel electrophoresis were used to investigate this cluster. Molecular typing showed that 39 out of these 45 N. meningitidis strains belonged to the clonal complex cc-269. The presence of the same PorA Variable Regions (VR1-VR2: 22, 14), the FetA allele (F5-1) and the highly similar Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis profiles, supported genetic relatedness for 38 out of these 39 isolates. Retrospective analysis of B:NT:P1.22,14 isolates from 1999 onwards suggested that these strains belonging to the cc-269 complex, first emerged in the Belgian province of West-Flanders in 2004. This study showed that the combination of molecular tools with classical methods enabled reliable outbreak detection as well as a cluster identification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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