Genetic relatedness of resistant and multiresistant Streptococcus pneumoniae strains, recovered in the Athens area, to international clones

Maria N. Tsolia, George Stamos, Sophia Ioannidou, Ronit Trefler, Maria Foustoukou, Dimitris Kafetzis, Nurith Porat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The prevalence of resistance to antibiotics was examined among 318 Streptococcus pneumoniae strains isolated during 1998 and 1999 in a children's hospital in Athens. The rate of resistance to penicillin was 25.8% (intermediate 22%, resistant 3.8%); 42.5% of the strains were resistant to ≥1 antibiotic and 20% were multidrug resistant. Resistance to penicillin was lowest in invasive strains (8.3%) and highest in ear isolates (31%). A review of the same microbiology laboratory's records revealed that there has been a gradual increase in penicillin resistance since 1988-1989, when it was 5%. Capsular types were determined for 77 strains resistant to ≥1 antibiotic, and 69 (90%) of them belonged to the following five serotypes: 19F, 14, 9V, 23F, and 6B. Seventy-five strains were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and 59/75 (79%) shared five electrophoretic types. The largest cluster consisted of 19 serotype 19F strains, of which 18 were nonsusceptible to penicillin and most were multidrug resistant and shared a common and distinct electrophoretic pattern not resembling any known clone. A group of 17 strains that were nonsusceptible to penicillin belonged to serotypes 9V (10), 14 (6), and 19F (1) and shared a common PFGE type similar to the international clone Spain9V-3. Seven serotype 23F strains, of which five were multidrug resistant, belonged to the international clone Spain23F-1. Among the strains susceptible to penicillin but resistant to non-β-lactam antibiotics, the largest cluster consisted of 13 isolates resistant to erythromycin that belonged to serotype 14 and shared an electrophoretic pattern characteristic of the clone England14-9. Finally, three serotype 6B strains were penicillin susceptible and multidrug resistant and had features similar to the Mediterranean 6B clone. The introduction and spread of several antibiotic-resistant international clones accounts at least in part for the increase in pneumococcal resistance observed in recent years in the Athens metropolitan area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-226
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobial Drug Resistance
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic relatedness of resistant and multiresistant Streptococcus pneumoniae strains, recovered in the Athens area, to international clones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this