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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Sep;85(3):510-3. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0695.

Short report: Identification of virulence-associated plasmids in Rhodococcus equi in humans with and without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in Brazil.

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Department of Veterinary Hygiene and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Universidad Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Virulence of Rhodococcus equi strains from 20 humans in Brazil was investigated by using a polymerase chain reaction to characterize isolates as virulent (VapA), intermediately virulent (VapB), and avirulent. Nine isolates were obtained from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients, six from HIV-negative patients, and five from patients of unknown status. Five isolates were VapB positive, four were VapA positive, and eleven were avirulent. Among the nine isolates from HIV-positive patients, five contained VapB plasmids and two contained VapA plasmids. Five VapB-positive isolates had the type 8 virulence plasmid. Eleven of the patients had a history of contact with livestock and/or a farm environment, and none had contact with pigs.

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