JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Association of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes isolates with clinical components of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

Sixty-two invasive Streptococcus pyogenes strains, including 32 strains isolated from patients with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), were analyzed for the following phenotypic and genotypic characteristics: M-protein type, serum opacity factor production, protease production, the presence of streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin (Spe) genes A, B, and C, and in vitro production of SpeA and SpeB. These characteristics were analyzed for possible associations with each other as well as with clinical components of STSS. M-type 1, the most commonly isolated M-type, was significantly associated with protease production. Protease activity was significantly associated with the clinical sign of soft tissue necrosis. M-type 1 and 3 strains from STSS patients were significantly associated with the clinical signs of shock and organ involvement as well as with SpeA production in vitro. Finally, the production of SpeA was significantly associated with the clinical component of shock and organ involvement as well as with rash. These data suggest that STSS does not make up a single syndrome but, rather, that the multiple STSS clinical criteria probably reflect different phenotypic characteristics of individual S. pyogenes isolates.

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