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Differences between culture & non-culture confirmed invasive meningococci with a focus on factor H-binding protein distribution

Clark, SA, Lekshmi, A, Lucidarme, J, Hao, L, Tsao, H, Lee-Jones, L ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1255-3545, Jansen, KU, Newbold, LS, Anderson, AS and Borrow, R (2016) Differences between culture & non-culture confirmed invasive meningococci with a focus on factor H-binding protein distribution. Journal of Infection, 73 (1). pp. 63-70. ISSN 0163-4453

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Abstract

Objectives: To compare the distribution of capsular groups and factor H-binding protein (fHBP) variants among meningococcal isolates and non-culture clinical specimens and to assess the representativeness of group B isolates amongst group B cases as a whole. Methods: A PCR sequencing assay was used to characterise fHBP from non-culture cases confirmed from January 2011 to December 2013. These were compared to genotypic data derived from whole genome analysis of isolates received during the same period. Results: Group W and Y strains were more common among isolates than non-culture strains. The distribution of fHBP variants among group B non-culture cases generally reflected that seen in the corresponding isolates. Nonetheless, the non-culture subset contained a greater proportion of fHBP variant 15/B44, associated with the ST-269 cluster sublineage. Conclusions: Differences in capsular group and fHBP distribution among culture and non-culture cases may be indicative of variation in strain viability, diagnostic practice, disease severity and/or clinical presentation. Future analyses combining clinical case information with laboratory data may help to further explore these differences. Group B isolates provide a good representation of group B disease in E&W and, therefore, can reliably be used in fHBP strain coverage predictions of recently-licensed vaccines.

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