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J Infect Dis. 1997 Jun;175(6):1413-22.

Penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in the Netherlands: results of a 1-year molecular epidemiologic survey.

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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands.


The molecular epidemiologic characteristics of penicillin-resistant pneumococci in the Netherlands were investigated in 1995. Dutch electronic surveillance data showed that 0.7% of all pneumococci were intermediately resistant and 0.4% were highly resistant to penicillin. From March 1995 to March 1996, 89 penicillin-resistant isolates were collected by 39 medical microbiology laboratories. Thirty different genotypes were observed by restriction fragment end labeling. Twenty-one DNA types were unique, whereas 9 distinct genotypes were shared by > or = 2 isolates. Different serogroups were found within 6 of the 9 genetically identical clusters of penicillin-resistant isolates, suggesting that horizontal transfer of capsular genes is common. Finally, nosocomial transmission of penicillin-resistant pneumococci was observed among 21 elderly adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This study demonstrates that multiple clones of penicillin-resistant pneumococci have been introduced in the Netherlands, a country with a low prevalence of pneumococcal infection. Some clones spread among the population in and outside hospitals.

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