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J Infect Dis. 1994 Mar;169(3):676-9.

Natural genetic transfer of a putative virulence-enhancing mutation to Haemophilus influenzae type a.

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Department of Paediatrics, Oxford University, John Radcliffe Hospital, United Kingdom.


Haemophilus influenzae strains of serotype a very rarely cause life-threatening infections. Examination of strains from the Gambia, West Africa, that caused septicemia, meningitis, or both revealed that a clone has emerged that carries a DNA deletion previously identified only in type b strains that is hypothesized to contribute to the special virulence of that serotype. This clone appears to have arisen by transfer of DNA between type a and type b strains, a transformation event that has happened more than once, as shown by the discovery Kenya, East Africa, of a clonally distinct type a strain bearing the identical deletion. The implications for the emergence of clinically important non-type b strains of H. influenzae are obvious.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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