Genome sequence analysis of emm89 Streptococcus pyogenes strains causing infections in Scotland, 2010–2016

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Purpose. Strains of type emm89 Streptococcus pyogenes have recently increased in frequency as a cause of human infections in several countries in Europe and North America. This increase has been molecular epidemiologically linked with the emergence of a new genetically distinct clone, designated clade 3. We sought to extend our understanding of this epidemic behavior by the genetic characterization of type emm89 strains responsible in recent years for an increased frequency of infections in Scotland. Methodology. We sequenced the genomes of a retrospective cohort of 122 emm89 strains recovered from patients with invasive and noninvasive infections throughout Scotland during 2010 to 2016. Results. All but one of the 122 emm89 infection isolates are of the recently emerged epidemic clade 3 clonal lineage. The Scotland isolates are closely related to and not genetically distinct from recent emm89 strains from England, they constitute a single genetic population. Conclusions. The clade 3 clone causes virtually all-contemporary emm89 infections in Scotland. These findings add Scotland to a growing list of countries of Europe and North America where, by whole genome sequencing, emm89 clade 3 strains have been demonstrated to be the cause of an ongoing epidemic of invasive infections and to be genetically related due to descent from a recent common progenitor.




Beres, S. B., Olsen, R. J., Saavedra, M. O., Ure, R., Reynolds, A., Lindsay, D. S. J., … Musser, J. M. (2017). Genome sequence analysis of emm89 Streptococcus pyogenes strains causing infections in Scotland, 2010–2016. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 66(12), 1765–1773.

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