Identification of a Highly Encapsulated, Genetically Related Group of Invasive Type III Group B Streptococci

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Type III group B streptococci (GBS) isolated from Tokyo and Salt Lake City were classified according to the similarity of HindIII and Sse83871 restriction digest patterns (RDPs) of bacterial DNA. The bacteria were clustered into three RDP types, with excellent correlation between subtyping based on the two enzymes. The majority (91%) of invasive isolates obtained from neonates were RDP type III-3. The mean sialic acid content of the III-3 strains was higher than that of other type III strains. Closely related isolates were concordant for expression of the bacterial enzyme C5a-ase, but invasive strains were no more likely to be C5a-ase positive than were strains isolated from the genitourinary tract of pregnant women. These data indicate that a group of genetically related organisms with increased capsule production causes the majority of invasive type III GBS disease.

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