An outbreak of penicillin resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae investigated by a polymerase chain reaction based genotyping method

S. H. Gillespie*, T. D. McHugh, A. Dickens, M. S. Kyi, M. Kelsey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims-To characterise the genotypes of penicillin resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae infecting patients in a care of the elderly ward and to study its transmission in a hospital environment. Methods-Isolates of S pneumoniae were cultured from specimens obtained from patients who had been admitted to a care of the elderly ward where an outbreak had occurred. Penicillin resistant S pneumoniae were also obtained from a series of surveillance throat swabs taken from patients in the same ward. In addition, all penicillin resistant S pneumoniae isolated from specimens submitted for culture at the time of the outbreak were included. Four sensitive strains isolated from a routine microbiology laboratory were included as controls. A simple polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based genotyping method for the penicillin binding protein (PBP) genes 1a, 2x, and 2b was used to characterise the genotypes. Results- Nine patients were infected with serotype 9 S pneumoniae. Four of these patients died; two deaths were directly attributable to the infection. Tested against a battery of haemolytic streptococci and other organisms found in the respiratory tract, only two false positive reactions for PBP 2x were found among S mitis. The method demonstrated that the outbreak strain had altered PBP 1a, 2b, and 2x genes, a pattern clearly distinguishable from other penicillin resistant strains isolated at the same time. Conclusions-This method is simple to perform and would enable many laboratories to characterise the genotype of penicillin resistant S pneumoniae and investigate transmission in their hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-851
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Pathology
Volume50
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997

Keywords

  • Penicillin binding proteins
  • Penicillin resistance
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

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