Dominance of serotype Ia among group B Streptococci causing invasive infections in nonpregnant adults in Portugal

J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Apr;50(4):1219-27. doi: 10.1128/JCM.05488-11. Epub 2012 Jan 4.


The population of group B streptococci (GBS) associated with invasive infections in nonpregnant adults from 2001 to 2008 was analyzed in isolates submitted from 24 hospital laboratories in Portugal (n = 225). The isolates were characterized by antimicrobial susceptibility, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and surface protein gene profiling. GBS invasive cases were found more frequently among men in all age groups. In addition, serotype Ia was the most frequent in our collection, whereas serotype V is dominant elsewhere. Serotype Ia was represented mainly by a single PFGE cluster defined by sequence type 23 (ST23) and surface protein gene eps and by ST24 and bca, similarly to neonatal invasive infections in Portugal, indicating that the same genetic lineages can be responsible for both vaginal colonization and invasive disease in all age groups. In contrast, the hypervirulent serotype III/ST17 neonatal lineage was responsible for a minority of infections. Serotype V isolates were distributed into two genetic lineages, one defined by ST1 and surface protein gene alp3 and macrolide resistant, and another presenting with ST2 and eps and fully susceptible to all antimicrobials tested. The erm(TR) gene was the most frequently found among erythromycin-resistant isolates, while the bovine-associated tet(O) gene was found in a minority of tetracycline-resistant isolates. Our data emphasize the importance of local identification of the genetic lineages responsible for GBS invasive infections in nonpregnant adults. The dominance of serotype Ia in invasive disease in Portugal highlights the importance of this serotype in GBS pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Disk Diffusion Antimicrobial Tests
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Phylogeny
  • Portugal / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Serotyping
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / classification
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / drug effects
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Erythromycin