Epidemiology and Infection

Meningococcal infection

Distribution of serogroups and sequence types in disease-associated and carrier strains of Neisseria meningitidis isolated in China between 2003 and 2008

H. ZHOUa1, Y. GAOa1, L. XUa1, M. LIa1, Q. LIa1a2, Y. LIa3, X. LIANGa3, H. LUOa3, B. KANa1, J. XUa1 and Z. SHAOa1 c1

a1 National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, and State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, People's Republic of China

a2 West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, China

a3 National Immunization Programme, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, People's Republic of China

SUMMARY

Given the unpredictability of Neisseria meningitidis outbreaks and the increased prevalence of serogroup C strains following the introduction of serogroup A-based vaccines, we conducted an analysis of serogroups and sequence types (STs) in disease-associated and carrier N. meningitidis isolates that have emerged in China since 2003. We used multilocus sequence-typing techniques to investigate 371 N. meningitidis strains isolated from patients with meningitis and healthy carriers. Two lineages were identified in serogroup A and C isolates, genotyped as the ST5 complex and ST4821 complex, respectively. Both clonal complexes were found throughout China, although ST4821 was more concentrated in the eastern region of the country. The ST5 complex has been persistent in China since the late 1980s and has since spread across the entire country. Isolates belonging to the ST4821 complex have been a dominant lineage since 2003.

(Accepted August 24 2011)

(Online publication September 20 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr Z. Shao, 155 Changbai Road, Department of Respiratory Infectious Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Changping, Beijing, People's Republic of China. (Email: shaozhujun@icdc.cn)

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