Acute Pharyngitis Associated With Streptococcus dysgalactiae Subspecies equisimilis in Children

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Background and Objectives:

The importance of Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (SDSE) in causing sporadic pharyngitis in children remains controversial. The aims of this study were (1) to report the incidence and (2) to compare the epidemiologic and clinical features of patients with SDSE to those with Streptococcus pyogenes (SP).


A prospective study was conducted on acute pharyngitis associated with SDSE in children over a 2-year period. SDSE was identified using a phenotypic method, M protein gene (emm) analysis and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry. Patients with positive SDSE or SP cultures received cephalosporins for 5 days and were followed up. The emm genotyping and specific virulence genes analyses were performed.


From 3416 throat cultures, 67 isolates (2.0%) were identified as SDSE and 515 (15.1%) were identified as SP. The mean age of patients with SDSE (8.3 years) was older than those with SP (6.6 years; P < 0.01). There was minimal seasonal variation in the isolation rates of SDSE. The febrile patients’ rates, gender distribution, cervical lymph node adenopathy rates, hospitalization rates, eradication and failure rates and the nonsuppurative sequelae between patients with SDSE and SP were similar. All SDSE isolates possessed important virulence genes. The emm genotyping of SDSE showed high strain diversity.


The incidence of acute pharyngitis associated with accurately identified SDSE was 2/15 of that with SP. Epidemiologic and clinical features of acute pharyngitis associated with SDSE are indistinguishable from those with SP, with the exception of age and seasonal variation.

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