Streptococcus pneumoniae expressing serotype 3 has a high virulence and a high case fatality ratio. Most studies of serotype 3 pneumococci have focused on a single lineage, the widespread sequence type 180 (ST180). To evaluate the serotype 3 lineages causing infections in Mexico, we characterized 196 isolates recovered from 1994 to 2017. The isolates were mostly susceptible to all antimicrobials tested. A single meningitis isolate was resistant to penicillin, and the resistance to erythromycin was 5.2%. The isolates represented the widely disseminated clonal complex 180 (CC180; n = 140), the unusual CC4909 (n = 42), CC260 (n = 11), and a few singletons (n = 3). CC260 was less frequent among pneumococcal invasive disease isolates than CC180 and CC4909 (P = 0.015). There was a decrease of CC4909 (P < 0.001) following PCV13 introduction (2012 to 2017). The CC4909 isolates were represented mostly by ST1119 (n = 40), seemingly having a restricted geographic origin, with isolates in the PubMLST database having been recovered only in Mexico, the United States, and Germany. A genomic analysis of publicly available genomes showed that ST1119 isolates have less than 32% similarity with ST180 isolates, indicating that these lineages are more separated than revealed by traditional multilocus sequence typing. Considering the suggestions of a lower efficacy of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine against serotype 3, the different dynamics of the two major serotype 3 lineages in Mexico following the introduction of PCV13 should be closely monitored.
Keywords: Streptococcus pneumoniae; antibiotic resistance; genomics; infectious clones; molecular subtyping; vaccines.
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