JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Description of the Pathogenic Features of Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates from Invasive and Non-Invasive Diseases in Aichi, Japan.

We identified hypervirulent Streptococcus pyogenes in 27 and 420 isolates from patients with invasive and non-invasive diseases, respectively, in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, between 2003 and 2012, in an attempt to understand why the prevalence of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) suddenly increased in this location during 2011. Hypervirulent strains belong to the emm1 genotype, with a mutation in the covR/S genes that regulate many other genes, encoding virulence determinants and resulting in the absence of the proteinase streptococcal exotoxin B and the production of virulence factors such as the superantigen streptococcal exotoxin A, the nuclease streptococcal DNase, the cytotoxin NAD-glycohydrolase, and the hemolysin streptolysin O. We found 1 strain from invasive disease and 1 from non-invasive disease with traits similar to those of hypervirulent strains, except that the sda1 gene was absent. We also found 1 non-emm1 strain with phenotypic and genetic traits identical to those of the emm1 hypervirulent strains except that it did not belong to emm1 genotype, from non-invasive diseases cases in 2011. These findings suggested that hypervirulent and hypervirulent-like strains from invasive and non-invasive disease cases could have at least partially contributed to the sudden increase in the number of patients with STSS in Aichi during 2011.

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