• Clinical and microbiologic characteristics of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in north and south India.

      Haggar, Axana; Nerlich, Andreas; Kumar, Rajesh; Abraham, Vinod J; Brahmadathan, Kootallur N; Ray, Pallab; Dhanda, Vanita; Joshua, John Melbin Jose; Mehra, Narinder; Bergmann, Rene; et al. (2012-05)
      The lack of epidemiologic data on invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in many developing countries is concerning, as S. pyogenes infections are commonly endemic in these areas. Here we present the results of the first prospective surveillance study of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in India. Fifty-four patients with invasive S. pyogenes infections were prospectively enrolled at two study sites, one in the north and one in the south of India. Sterile-site isolates were collected, and clinical information was documented using a standardized questionnaire. Available acute-phase sera were tested for their ability to inhibit superantigens produced by the patient's own isolate using a cell-based neutralizing assay. The most common clinical presentations were bacteremia without focus (30%), pneumonia (28%), and cellulitis (17%). Only two cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and no cases of necrotizing fasciitis were identified. Characterization of the isolates revealed great heterogeneity, with 32 different emm subtypes and 29 different superantigen gene profiles being represented among the 49 sterile-site isolates. Analyses of acute-phase sera showed that only 20% of the cases in the north cohort had superantigen-neutralizing activity in their sera, whereas 50% of the cases from the south site had neutralizing activity. The results demonstrate that there are important differences in both clinical presentation and strain characteristics between invasive S. pyogenes infections in India and invasive S. pyogenes infections in Western countries. The findings underscore the importance of epidemiologic studies on streptococcal infections in India and have direct implications for current vaccine developments.
    • Genetic variation in group A streptococci.

      McMillan, David J; Sriprakash, Kadaba S; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-11)
      Group A streptococcus (GAS) is responsible for a range of human diseases that vary in their clinical manifestations and severity. While numerous virulence factors have been described, the way these factors interact to promote different streptococcal diseases is less clear. In order to identify multifactorial relationships between GAS and the human host, novel high-throughput techniques such as microarrays are necessary. We have performed comparative studies using custom-designed virulence arrays to enhance our understanding of the high degree of genotypic variation that occurs in streptococci. This study has pointed to mobile genetic elements as the major agents that promote variation. Our results show that multiple combinations of genes might bring about similar clinical pictures. This adds further complexity to the intricate relationship between pathogen and host.