Molecular Epidemiology of Noninvasive and Invasive Group A Streptococcal Infections in Cape Town
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- University of Cape Town
Group A streptococcus (GAS) is responsible for a wide range of noninvasive group A streptococcal (non-iGAS) and invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections. Information about the emm type variants of the M protein causing GAS disease is important to assess potential vaccine coverage of a 30-valent vaccine under development, particularly with respect to how they compare and contrast with non-iGAS isolates, especially in regions with a high burden of GAS. We conducted a prospective passive surveillance study of samples from patients attending public health facilities in Cape Town, South Africa. We documented demographic data and clinical presentation. emm typing was conducted using CDC protocols. GAS was commonly isolated from pus swabs, blood, deep tissue, and aspirates. Clinical presentations included wound infections (20%), bacteremia (15%), abscesses (9%), and septic arthritis (8%). Forty-six different emm types were identified, including M76 (16%), M81 (10%), M80 (6%), M43 (6%), and M183 (6%), and the emm types were almost evenly distributed between non-iGAS and iGAS isolates. There was a statistically significant association with M80 in patients presenting with noninvasive abscesses. Compared to the 30-valent vaccine under development, the levels of potential vaccine coverage for non-iGAS and iGAS infection were 60% and 58%, respectively, notably lower than the coverage in developed countries; five of the most prevalent emm types, M76, M81, M80, M43, and M183, were not included. The emm types from GAS isolated from patients with invasive disease did not differ significantly from those from noninvasive disease cases. There is low coverage of the multivalent M protein vaccine in our setting, emphasizing the need to reformulate the vaccine to improve coverage in areas where the burden of disease is high.IMPORTANCE The development of a vaccine for group A streptococcus (GAS) is of paramount importance given that GAS infections cause more than 500,000 deaths annually across the world. This prospective passive surveillance laboratory study evaluated the potential coverage of the M protein-based vaccine currently under development. While a number of GAS strains isolated from this sub-Sahara African study were included in the current vaccine formulation, we nevertheless report that potential vaccine coverage for GAS infection in our setting was approximately 60%, with four of the most prevalent strains not included. This research emphasizes the need to reformulate the vaccine to improve coverage in areas where the burden of disease is high.
- group A streptococcus, invasive GAS, molecular epidemiology, sub-Saharan Africa, vaccines