Endemic meningococcal disease in Cerdanyola, Spain, 1987-93: Molecular epidemiology of the isolates of Neisseria meningitidis

M. Esther Verdú, Pere Coll, Dionisia Fontanals, Francesca March, Immaculada Pons, Isabel Sanfeliu, Guillem Prats

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Objective: To establish the relationships between 30 Neisseria meningitidis strains isolated in Cerdanyola (Spain) from 30 out of 36 sporadic cases of meningococcal disease (MD) during 1987-93 and their spread in this population by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MEE) and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and to evaluate the usefulness of PFGE versus serologic typing methods and MEE as an alternative epidemiologic marker to study meningococcal infection. Methods: Serotyping, electrophoretic mobility of seven isoenzymes determined by MEE and chromosomal DNA macrorestriction with NheI resolved by PFGE were analyzed. Results: Of these 30 strains, 25 were serogroup B and the remaining five were serogroup C, with the 4:P1.15 and the 2b:NT as the most common antigenic phenotypes, respectively. There were 13 electrophoretic types (ETs) by MEE, with 14 isolates showing an identical ET, 8. Sixteen pulse types (PTs) were generated by PFGE. The 14 ET 8 isolates were clustered into six PTs, A1, A2, A4, A5, A6 and A8. However, by combining both methods, 19 genetically distinct groups were obtained. Eleven of these groups (20 serogroup B strains) and two of these (four serogroup C strains) were genetically related. Conclusions: We conclude that, according to the clonal population structure, these 30 N. meningitidis strains are heterogeneous although a great number are related. Moreover, PFGE is a useful method to establish clonal structure in N. meningitidis strains under endemic conditions. Finer discrimination of these strains was achieved by combining both MEE and PFGE methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-178
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Epidemiology
  • Molecular typing methods
  • Multilocus enzyme electrophoresis
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
  • Typing


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