HealthDay News — Genome sequencing techniques can shed light on the rise in incidence of scarlet fever-causing bacteria and their increasing resistance to antibiotics, according to research published online in Scientific Reports.
Recent outbreaks have been reported in the United Kingdom and Asia, said scientists at the Australian Infectious Diseases Center at the University of Queensland. Outbreaks in 2011 in Hong Kong and China were caused primarily by emm12 group A Streptococcus (GAS), leading the team to investigate the next most common cause of scarlet fever, emm1 GAS.
Genomic analysis was performed on 18 emm1 isolates from Hong Kong and 16 emm1 isolates from mainland China. The researchers identified mobile genetic elements associated with the expansion of emm12 scarlet fever clones in the M1T1 genomic background that confer expression of superantigens SSA and SpeC, and resistance to tetracycline, erythromycin, and clindamycin.
“Horizontal transfer of mobile DNA conferring multi-drug resistance and expression of a new superantigen repertoire in the M1T1 clone should trigger heightened public health awareness for the global dissemination of these genetic elements,” the authors write.