Group A Streptococcus (GAS) are globally distributed bacterial pathogens. We examined the emm genotypes, which are important indicators of virulence, of 349 clinical GAS isolates collected using two surveillance systems, i.e. Invasive Bacterial Infection Surveillance (IBIS) from 2010 to 2011 (234 isolates) and routine surveillance of clinically isolated bacteria from various hospitals during 1996–2011 (115 isolates) in Thailand. The major emm genotypes in IBIS samples were emm44 (12·0%), emm104 (6·8%), emm22 (5·6%), and emm81 (5·6%), whereas only one isolate (0·4%) had the emm1 genotype, which is significantly more common in invasive cases in the Western world. In samples collected during routine surveillance, emm238 (10·4%), emm44 (8·7%), and emm165 (7·0%) were dominant. The major superantigen gene profiles were similar between the groups, and 30·1% of isolates did not possess the phage-encoded superantigens (speA, speC, speH, speI, speK, speL, speM, ssa). Although most isolates exhibited limited gene profiles, emm44 isolates had highly variable gene profiles (15 patterns). We conclude that emm44 is the predominant GAS genotype in Thailand, and isolates varied in superantigen gene profiles.
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