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Molecular characteristics of serotype 3 Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates among community-acquired pneumonia patients in Japan


In order to understand the spread of the erythromycin-resistant serotype 3 Streptococcus pneumoniae clone in Japan, we have assessed the molecular characteristics of this clone. Among 156 S. pneumoniae isolates recovered from adults with community-acquired pneumonia between 2003 and 2005, 42 were serotype 3 and 40 were sequence type (ST) 180/Netherlands3-31 by multilocus sequence typing. Thirty-eight of the 40 ST 180 isolates had acquired resistance to erythromycin via the ermB gene. Although the ermB-positive ST180 clone isolates were more susceptible to penicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole than ermB-positive non-ST180 isolates and contained a less mutated pbp1a or pbp2b gene, without a mefA gene, the ST180 clone was highly prevalent among ermB-positive isolates. Routine surveillance for the ST180 S. pneumoniae clone may soon become necessary.

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Correspondence to Yutaka Ito.

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Isozumi, R., Ito, Y., Ishida, T. et al. Molecular characteristics of serotype 3 Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates among community-acquired pneumonia patients in Japan. J Infect Chemother 14, 258–261 (2008).

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Key words

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Serotype
  • Drug resistance
  • Mucoid
  • Multilocus sequencing typing (MLST)