Population structure and virulence gene profiles of Streptococcus agalactiae collected from different hosts worldwide

Marina Morach, Roger Stephan, Sarah Schmitt, Christa Ewers, Michael Zschöck, Julian Reyes-Velez, Urs Gilli, María del Pilar Crespo-Ortiz, Margaret Crumlish, Revathi Gunturu, Claudia A. Daubenberger, Margaret Ip, Walter Regli, Sophia Johler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Streptococcus agalactiae is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among neonates and causes severe infections in pregnant women and nonpregnant predisposed adults, in addition to various animal species worldwide. Still, information on the population structure of S. agalactiae and the geographical distribution of different clones is limited. Further data are urgently needed to identify particularly successful clones and obtain insights into possible routes of transmission within one host species and across species borders. We aimed to determine the population structure and virulence gene profiles of S. agalactiae strains from a diverse set of sources and geographical origins. To this end, 373 S. agalactiae isolates obtained from humans and animals from five different continents were typed by DNA microarray profiling. A total of 242 different S. agalactiae strains were identified and further analyzed. Particularly successful clonal lineages, hybridization patterns, and strains were identified that were spread across different continents and/or were present in more than one host species. In particular, several strains were detected in both humans and cattle, and several canine strains were also detected in samples from human, bovine, and porcine hosts. The findings of our study suggest that although S. agalactiae is well adapted to various hosts including humans, cattle, dogs, rodents, and fish, interspecies transmission is possible and occurs between humans and cows, dogs, and rabbits. The virulence and resistance gene profiles presented enable new insights into interspecies transmission and make a crucial contribution to the identification of suitable targets for therapeutic agents and vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-536
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


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