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This study presents the serotype distribution and the antibiotic resistance profile of 953 colonising group B Streptococcus (GBS) recovered from women of child bearing age (15 to 49 years) between 2005 and 2012 in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region, Portugal. Overall, serotypes Ia, II, III, and V were the most common, accounting 752 of the 953 isolates (about 80%). However, there were changes in GBS distribution, in particular in the two last years of the study. Of note, the proportion of serotype IV isolates increased from 1% (2/148) in 2006 to 20% (19/97) in 2012. Also, considerable proportions of serotype IV isolates from 2010 to 2012 were respectively resistant to erythromycin (9/43; 21%) or clindamycin (6/43; 14%). The identification of nine serotype IV isolates presenting a novel association with the clonal complex (CC) 17 lineage, involving a putative capsular switch, may accentuate their virulence potential and ecological success. Molecular analysis of this subgroup of isolates revealed the presence of rib, IS (insertion sequence) 861 and GBSi1 group II intron within the C5a peptidase gene (scpB) - laminin-binding protein gene (lmb) region, reflecting high clonality and a putative common origin. A close surveillance of the emergent type IV/CC17 isolates is crucial considering the potential impact over GBS treatment guidelines and capsular vaccine development. .


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