The heterogeneity of members of the Streptococcus anginosus group (SAG) has traditionally hampered their correct identification. Recently, the group was subdivided into 6 taxa whose prevalence among human infections is poorly described. We evaluated the accuracy of the Rapid ID32 Strep test, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), and a PCR multiplex method to identify 212 SAG isolates recovered from human infections to the species and subspecies level by using multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) as the gold standard. We also determined the antimicrobial susceptibilities of the isolates. Representatives of all SAG taxa were found among our collection. MALDI-TOF MS and the Rapid ID32 Strep test correctly identified 92% and 68% of the isolates to the species level, respectively, but showed poor performance at the subspecies level, and the latter was responsible for major identification errors. The multiplex PCR method results were in complete agreement with the MLSA identifications but failed to distinguish the subspecies Streptococcus constellatus subsp. pharyngis and S. constellatus subsp. viborgensis. A total of 145 MLSA sequence types were present in our collection, indicating that within each taxon a number of different lineages are capable of causing infection. Significant antibiotic resistance was observed only to tetracycline, erythromycin, and clindamycin and was present in most taxa. MALDI-TOF MS is a reliable method for routine SAG species identification, while the need for identification to the subspecies level is not clearly established.
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