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Publications (3)17.74 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background. Few cross-population studies examining the epidemiology of invasive group B streptococcal (GBS) disease have been undertaken. To identify longitudinal trends in the burden and characteristics of infections, national surveillance data on diagnoses in England and Wales from 1991 to 2010 were analyzed. Methods. A parallel review of laboratory-confirmed invasive GBS infection surveillance reports and isolates submitted to the national reference laboratory was undertaken. Cases were defined as GBS isolated from a normally sterile site. Results. A total of 21 386 reports of invasive GBS infection were made between 1991 and 2010. The annual rate of reports doubled over the 20 years from 1.48 to 2.99 per 100 000 population. Significant increases were seen in all age groups but most pronounced in adults. Rates of early-onset (0-6 days) infant disease fluctuated but showed a general rise between 2000 and 2010 from 0.28 to 0.41 per 1000 live births. Rates of late-onset (7-90 days) disease increased steadily between 1991 and 2010 from 0.11 to 0.29 per 1000 live births. Resistance to erythromycin increased markedly from 2.5% in 1991 to 15% in 2010. The distribution of serotypes varied according to patient age and over time with type III increasing among early-onset cases and decreasing in adults. Conclusions. Although risk of invasive GBS infection remains highest within the first few days of life, the relative burden of disease is shifting toward adults. The rise in incidence and antibiotic resistance makes development of an effective and safe vaccine all the more pressing.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 07/2013; · 9.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the results from the first international multicenter external quality assessment (EQA) studies for molecular and serological typing of group B streptococcus (GBS) strains as part of DEVANI (Design of a Vaccine against Neonatal Infections), a pan-European program. A questionnaire-based surveillance was undertaken among eight laboratories participating in DEVANI and six laboratories not participating in DEVANI from 13 countries in order to assess their current microbiological procedures for GBS screening, diagnosis, and typing. GBS strains from three EQA distributions were characterized using molecular and serological methods based on GBS capsular polysaccharide typing. Participants were asked to test the first distribution using their current serotyping and genotyping methods. The Strep-B-Latex agglutination method was the most widely used method, with a typeability value of >90%. A multiplex PCR assay for GBS capsular gene typing was also used by 2 of 14 centers, which achieved a typeability value of 93%; this assay detected only 9 of 10 GBS capsular polysaccharide genes. From the second and third EQA studies, standardized protocols were prepared for serological and molecular typing of GBS strains based on the Strep-B-Latex agglutination method and a novel multiplex PCR assay that detected all 10 GBS capsular types (Ia to IX). These standardized protocols are being used by many European laboratories, and as the use of these methods increases, it is imperative to continuously improve and assess laboratory performance and offer training to any laboratories that have technical difficulties.
    Journal of clinical microbiology 02/2011; 49(4):1475-82. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The acquisition of superantigen-encoding genes by Streptococcus pyogenes has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality in humans, and the gain of four superantigens by Streptococcus equi is linked to the evolution of this host-restricted pathogen from an ancestral strain of the opportunistic pathogen Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus. A recent study determined that the culture supernatants of several S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus strains possessed mitogenic activity but lacked known superantigen-encoding genes. Here, we report the identification and activities of three novel superantigen-encoding genes. The products of szeF, szeN, and szeP share 59%, 49%, and 34% amino acid sequence identity with SPEH, SPEM, and SPEL, respectively. Recombinant SzeF, SzeN, and SzeP stimulated the proliferation of equine peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production, in vitro. Although none of these superantigen genes were encoded within functional prophage elements, szeN and szeP were located next to a prophage remnant, suggesting that they were acquired by horizontal transfer. Eighty-one of 165 diverse S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus strains screened, including 7 out of 15 isolates from cases of disease in humans, contained at least one of these new superantigen-encoding genes. The presence of szeN or szeP, but not szeF, was significantly associated with mitogenic activity in the S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus population (P < 0.000001, P < 0.000001, and P = 0.104, respectively). We conclude that horizontal transfer of these novel superantigens from and within the diverse S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus population is likely to have implications for veterinary and human disease.
    Infection and immunity 11/2010; 78(11):4817-27. · 4.21 Impact Factor