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Concept: Serotype


Background In October 2010, nearly 10 months after a devastating earthquake, Haiti was stricken by epidemic cholera. Within days after detection, the Ministry of Public Health and Population established a National Cholera Surveillance System (NCSS). Methods The NCSS used a modified World Health Organization case definition for cholera that included acute watery diarrhea, with or without vomiting, in persons of all ages residing in an area in which at least one case of Vibrio cholerae O1 infection had been confirmed by culture. Results Within 29 days after the first report, cases of V. cholerae O1 (serotype Ogawa, biotype El Tor) were confirmed in all 10 administrative departments (similar to states or provinces) in Haiti. Through October 20, 2012, the public health ministry reported 604,634 cases of infection, 329,697 hospitalizations, and 7436 deaths from cholera and isolated V. cholerae O1 from 1675 of 2703 stool specimens tested (62.0%). The cumulative attack rate was 5.1% at the end of the first year and 6.1% at the end of the second year. The cumulative case fatality rate consistently trended downward, reaching 1.2% at the close of year 2, with departmental cumulative rates ranging from 0.6% to 4.6% (median, 1.4%). Within 3 months after the start of the epidemic, the rolling 14-day case fatality rate was 1.0% and remained at or below this level with few, brief exceptions. Overall, the cholera epidemic in Haiti accounted for 57% of all cholera cases and 53% of all cholera deaths reported to the World Health Organization in 2010 and 58% of all cholera cases and 37% of all cholera deaths in 2011. Conclusions A review of NCSS data shows that during the first 2 years of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the cumulative attack rate was 6.1%, with cases reported in all 10 departments. Within 3 months after the first case was reported, there was a downward trend in mortality, with a 14-day case fatality rate of 1.0% or less in most areas.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Pandemic, World Health Organization, Vibrio cholerae, Cholera, Serotype, Robert Koch, El Tor


Serotyping of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) has been contingent upon the availability of antisera. Here we describe a 7-plex microbead-based immunoassay to simultaneously serotype seven STEC (i.e., belonging to serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157) by the Luminex xMAP® technology. This technology presents many advantages: Its multiplexed format (up to 100 analytes) saves time, reagents, and test sample, and many regulatory agencies currently utilize this platform for other assays. In this study, a total of seventy-nine STEC strains belonging to the 7 different serogroups of interest were tested. These strains had been previously serotyped and their serogroup confirmed by PCR. Except for one strain belonging to the O111 serogroup, nearly all strains (i.e., 98.7%; 78/79) were correctly identified on the Bio-Plex 100 instrument in less than 4 h. This newly developed microbead-based immunoassay could be extended to include other STEC serogroups, virulence factors, and/or bacterial species.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Serotype, Scientific classification


In children and adults, human adenovirus serotype 36 (Ad36) is linked with increased adiposity, and important metabolic alterations. Since this property is not shared by many other human adenovirus serotypes, it is imperative to specifically identify exposure to Ad36. Although serum neutralization assay (SNA) is the gold standard to specifically detect neutralizing antibodies (NA) to Ad36, it requires 2-weeks to complete and considerable training to interpret the results. Whereas, an enzyme-immuno assay (EIA) may provide a quicker and objective determination.

Concepts: Human, Microbiology, Viruses, Identification, Serotype, Determination, Adenoviridae, Adenovirus serotype 36


Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen causing listeriosis, which potentially affects all individuals, especially pregnant women and immunocompromised persons. The present study investigated the prevalence, antimicrobial susceptibility and serotypes distribution of the isolated L. monocytogenes from Iran. Twenty two (4.97%) of 442 human, food and livestock samples were found to be positive for L. monocytogenes. L. monocytogenes was identified in 8.8% of 125 human samples, 2.99% of 267 food and 6% of 50 livestock samples. The standard disk diffusion method and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assay were used for antimicrobial susceptibility testing and multiplex PCR for serotyping. Among the 22 isolates tested, 6 (27.2%) displayed resistance to penicillin G, with all of the isolates and 2 (9%) of them showing intermediate susceptibility to clindamycin and rifampicin, respectively. According to the MIC assay, the rate of resistance to penicillin G was the same as that of disk diffusion method, but 16 (72.7%) of isolates showed intermediate susceptibility to clindamycin using E-test. In the multiplex PCR, 19 (86.4%) of isolates belonged to serotype 1/2c or 3c and the remaining 3 isolates were identified as (4b, 4d or 4e) and (1/2a or 3a), respectively. The occurrence of resistance to penicillin G, which can be used in the treatment of listeriosis, is very alarming and more prevalence of 1/2c serotype, in comparison to 3 other important ones (1/2a, 1/2b and 4b), in Iran has been reported for the first time. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study showing the distribution of various serogroups of L. monocytogenes from human and livestock in Iran.

Concepts: Microbiology, Meningitis, Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria, Listeriosis, Serotype, Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, Listeriosis in animals


Vibrio cholerae is an important human pathogen and environmental microflora species that can both propagate in the human intestine and proliferate in zooplankton and aquatic organisms. Cholera is transmitted through food and water. In recent years, outbreaks caused by V. cholerae-contaminated soft-shelled turtles, mainly of toxigenic serogroup O139, have been frequently reported, posing a new foodborne disease public health problem. In this study, the colonization of toxigenic V. cholerae on the body surface and intestine of the soft-shelled turtle was explored. Preferred colonization sites on the turtle body surface, mainly the carapace and calipash of the dorsal side, were observed for the O139 and O1 strains. Intestinal colonization was also found. The colonization factors of V. cholerae played different roles in colonization of the soft-shelled turtle body surface and intestine. Mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin (MSHA) of V. cholerae was necessary for body surface colonization, but no roles were found for toxin-coregulated pili (TCP) and N-acetyl glucosamine-binding protein A (GBPA). Both TCP and GBPA play important colonization roles in the intestine, whereas the deletion of MSHA identified only a minor colonization-promoting role for this factor. Our study demonstrated that V. cholerae could colonize the surface and the intestines of soft-shelled turtles and indicated that the soft-shelled turtles played a role in the transmission of cholera. In addition, this study showed that the soft-shelled turtle has potential value as an animal model in studies of the colonization and environmental adaption mechanisms of V. cholerae in aquatic organisms.IMPORTANCE Cholera is transmitted through water and food. Vibrio cholerae (commonly the serogroup O139 strains) contaminated soft-shelled turtles have caused many foodborne infections and outbreaks in recent years, and this organism has become a foodborne disease problem. Except for epidemiological investigations, no experimental studies have demonstrated the colonization of V. cholerae on soft-shelled turtles. These studies will benefit our understanding of the interaction between V. cholerae and the soft-shelled turtle. We demonstrated the colonization of V. cholerae on the soft-shelled turtle’s body surface and in the intestine and revealed the different roles of major V. cholerae colonization factors on the body surface and in the intestine. Our work provides experimental evidence for the role of soft-shelled turtles in cholera transmission. In addition, this study also shows the possibility for the soft-shelled turtle to serve as a new animal model for studying the interaction between V. cholerae and aquatic hosts.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Intestine, Turtle, Vibrio cholerae, Cholera, Serotype, Trionychidae


In October of 2010, an outbreak of cholera was confirmed in Haiti for the first time in more than a century. A single clone of toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype El Tor serotype Ogawa strain was implicated as the cause. Five years after the onset of cholera, in October, 2015, we have discovered a major switch (ranging from 7 to 100%) from Ogawa serotype to Inaba serotype. Furthermore, using wbeT gene sequencing and comparative sequence analysis, we now demonstrate that, among 2013 and 2015 Inaba isolates, the wbeT gene, responsible for switching Ogawa to Inaba serotype, sustained a unique nucleotide mutation not found in isolates obtained from Haiti in 2012. Moreover, we show that, environmental Inaba isolates collected in 2015 have the identical mutations found in the 2015 clinical isolates. Our data indicate that toxigenic V. cholerae O1 serotype Ogawa can rapidly change its serotype to Inaba, and has the potential to cause disease in individuals who have acquired immunity against Ogawa serotype. Our findings highlight the importance of monitoring of toxigenic V. cholerae O1 and cholera in countries with established endemic disease.

Concepts: DNA, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Pandemic, Vibrio cholerae, Cholera, Serotype, El Tor


The pneumococcus is a diverse pathogen whose primary niche is the nasopharynx. Over 90 different serotypes exist, and nasopharyngeal carriage of multiple serotypes is common. Understanding pneumococcal carriage is essential for evaluating the impact of pneumococcal vaccines. Traditional serotyping methods are cumbersome and insufficient for detecting multiple serotype carriage, and there are few data comparing the new methods that have been developed over the past decade. We established the PneuCarriage project, a large, international multi-centre study dedicated to the identification of the best pneumococcal serotyping methods for carriage studies.

Concepts: Microbiology, Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Vaccination, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine, Serotype


On January 6, 2015, a man aged 40 years was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, with acute watery diarrhea. The patient was found to be infected with toxigenic Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1, serotype Inaba. A subsequent review of surveillance reports identified four patients in Nairobi County during the preceding month who met either of the Kenya Ministry of Health suspected cholera case definitions: 1) severe dehydration or death from acute watery diarrhea (more than four episodes in 12 hours) in a patient aged ≥5 years, or 2) acute watery diarrhea in a patient aged ≥2 years in an area where there was an outbreak of cholera. An outbreak investigation was immediately initiated. A confirmed cholera case was defined as isolation of V. cholerae O1 or O139 from the stool of a patient with suspected cholera or a suspected cholera case that was epidemiologically linked to a confirmed case. By January 15, 2016, a total of 11,033 suspected or confirmed cases had been reported from 22 of Kenya’s 47 counties (Table). The outbreak is ongoing.

Concepts: Microbiology, Dehydration, Vibrio cholerae, Cholera, Oral rehydration therapy, Serotype, El Tor, Jomo Kenyatta


In April 2015, Public Health England implemented whole genome sequencing (WGS) as a routine typing tool for public health surveillance of Salmonella, adopting a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) approach as a replacement for traditional serotyping. The WGS derived sequence type (ST) was compared to the phenotypic serotype for 6,887 isolates of S. enterica subspecies I, and of these, 6,616 (96%) were concordant. Of the 4% (n = 271) of isolates of subspecies I exhibiting a mismatch, 119 were due to a process error in the laboratory, 26 were likely caused by the serotype designation in the MLST database being incorrect and 126 occurred when two different serovars belonged to the same ST. The population structure of S. enterica subspecies II-IV differs markedly from that of subspecies I and, based on current data, defining the serovar from the clonal complex may be less appropriate for the classification of this group. Novel sequence types that were not present in the MLST database were identified in 8.6% of the total number of samples tested (including S. enterica subspecies I-IV and S. bongori) and these 654 isolates belonged to 326 novel STs. For S. enterica subspecies I, WGS MLST derived serotyping is a high throughput, accurate, robust, reliable typing method, well suited to routine public health surveillance. The combined output of ST and serovar supports the maintenance of traditional serovar nomenclature while providing additional insight on the true phylogenetic relationship between isolates.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Molecular biology, Microbiology, Taxonomy, Salmonella enterica, Serotype, DNA profiling, Shotgun sequencing


Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates typically express one of over 90 immunologically distinguishable polysaccharide capsules (serotypes), which can be classified into “serogroups” based on cross-reactivity with certain antibodies. Pneumococci can alter their serotype through recombinations affecting the capsule polysaccharide synthesis (cps) locus. Twenty such “serotype switching” events were fully characterised using a collection of 616 whole genome sequences from systematic surveys of pneumococcal carriage. Eleven of these were within-serogroup switches, representing a highly significant (p < 0.0001) enrichment based on the observed serotype distribution. Whereas the recombinations resulting in between-serogroup switches all spanned the entire cps locus, some of those that caused within-serogroup switches did not. However, higher rates of within-serogroup switching could not be fully explained by either more frequent, shorter recombinations, nor by genetic linkage to genes involved in β-lactam resistance. This suggested the observed pattern was a consequence of selection for preserving serogroup. Phenotyping of strains constructed to express different serotypes in common genetic backgrounds was used to test whether genotypes were physiologically adapted to particular serogroups. These data were consistent with epistatic interactions between the cps locus and the rest of the genome that were specific to serotype, but not serogroup, meaning they were unlikely to account for the observed distribution of capsule types. Exclusion of these genetic and physiological hypotheses suggested future work should focus on alternative mechanisms, such as host immunity spanning multiple serotypes within the same serogroup, which might explain the observed pattern.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Bacteria, Microbiology, Pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus, Serotype