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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57047. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057047. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

Disease isolates of Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae and non-typeable S. pneumoniae presumptively identified as atypical S. pneumoniae in Spain.

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Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, Microbiology Department, Universistat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


We aimed to obtain insights on the nature of a collection of isolates presumptively identified as atypical Streptococcus pneumoniae recovered from invasive and non-invasive infections in Spain. One-hundred and thirty-two isolates were characterized by: optochin susceptibility in ambient and CO(2)-enriched atmosphere; bile solubility; PCR-based assays targeting pneumococcal genes lytA, ply, pspA, cpsA, Spn9802, aliB-like ORF2, and a specific 16S rRNA region; multilocus sequence analysis; and antimicrobial susceptibility. By multilocus sequence analysis, 61 isolates were S. pseudopneumoniae, 34 were pneumococci, 13 were S. mitis, and 24 remained unclassified as non-pneumococci. Among S. pseudopneumoniae isolates, 51 (83.6%) were collected from respiratory tract samples; eight isolates were obtained from sterile sources. High frequency of non-susceptibility to penicillin (60.7%) and erythromycin (42.6%) was found. Only 50.8% of the S. pseudopneumoniae isolates displayed the typical optochin phenotype originally described for this species. None harbored the cpsA gene or the pneumococcal typical lytA restriction fragment length polymorphism. The Spn9802 and the specific 16S rRNA regions were detected among the majority of the S. pseudopneumoniae isolates (n = 59 and n = 49, respectively). The ply and pspA genes were rarely found. A high genetic diversity was found and 59 profiles were identified. Among the S. pneumoniae, 23 were capsulated and 11 were non-typeable. Three non-typeable isolates, associated to international non-capsulated lineages, were recovered from invasive disease sources. In conclusion, half of the atypical pneumococcal clinical isolates were, in fact, S. pseudopneumoniae and one-fourth were other streptococci. We identified S. pseudopneumoniae and non-typeable pneumococci as cause of disease in Spain including invasive disease.

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