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Since 2008, Danish national surveillance of has focused on binary toxin-positive strains in order to monitor epidemic types such as PCR ribotype (RT) 027 and 078. Additional surveillance is needed to provide a more unbiased representation of all strains from the clinical reservoir.


Setting up a new sentinel surveillance scheme for an improved understanding of type distribution relative to time, geography and epidemiology, here presenting data from 2016 to 2019.


For 2─4 weeks in spring and autumn each year between 2016 and 2019, all 10 Danish Departments of Clinical Microbiology collected faecal samples containing toxigenic . Isolates were typed at the national reference laboratory at Statens Serum Institut. The typing method in 2016–17 used tandem-repeat-sequence typing, while the typing method in 2018–19 was whole genome sequencing.


During the study period, the sentinel surveillance scheme included ca 14–15% of all Danish cases of infections. Binary toxin-negative strains accounted for 75% and 16 of the 20 most prevalent types. The most common sequence types (ST) were ST2/13 (RT014/020) (19.5%), ST1 (RT027) (10.8%), ST11 (RT078) (6.7%), ST8 (RT002) (6.6%) and ST6 (RT005/117) (5.1%). The data also highlighted geographical differences, mostly related to ST1 and temporal decline of ST1 (p = 0.0008) and the increase of ST103 (p = 0.002), ST17 (p = 0.004) and ST37 (p = 0.003), the latter three binary toxin-negative.


Sentinel surveillance allowed nationwide monitoring of geographical differences and temporal changes in infections in Denmark, including emerging types, regardless of binary toxin status.


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