, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 389-394

Intercontinental spread of Neisseria meningitidis clones of the ET-5 complex

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The genetic structure of populations of Neisseria meningitidis was examined by an analysis of electrophoretically demonstrable allelic variation at 15 structural genes encoding enzymes in 688 isolates. Variation among strains in serogroup and serotype has little relationship to the complex structure of populations revealed by enzyme electrophoresis, which involves 14 major lineages of clones diverging from one another at more than half their genetic loci. Clones of one of these lineages, the ET-5 complex, have been identified as the causative agent of recent outbreaks and epidemics of meningococcal disease in Europe, South Africa, Latin America, and the United States. There is evidence that organisms of the ET-5 complex reached Florida via human immigrants from Cuba.