Aspects of pathogenesis of serious group A streptococcal infections in Sweden, 1988-1989

J Infect Dis. 1992 Jul;166(1):31-7. doi: 10.1093/infdis/166.1.31.


Serotypes of serious, sometimes fatal, streptococcal infections in Sweden during 1988-1989 were analyzed. The T1M1 type totally dominated, representing almost 70% of all group A streptococci from serious and uncomplicated infections at the peak of the outbreak. Immunoblots of isolates from various patient groups showed that all isolates produced high amounts of erythrogenic toxin (ET) B and high amounts of ET-C, whereas ET-A was released only in small amounts and from few isolates. ELISAs showed high antibody levels to these toxins and to the M1 antigen in patients with uncomplicated infections. Low antibody levels against M1 were seen in patients with bacteremia and in fatal cases; the latter also had low antibody levels against ET-B. It seems likely that a combination of production of large amounts of toxin and low antibody titers to it and to the M antigen of the infecting isolate are determining factors for the outcome of the infection. No signs of primary immune deficiency were noted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Exotoxins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrogens / analysis
  • Serotyping
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Streptococcal Infections / mortality
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / classification*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / immunology
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Exotoxins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Pyrogens
  • SpeA protein, Streptococcus pyogenes
  • erythrogenic toxin