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Molecular analysis of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica isolates from humans and animals revealed the presence of two subgroups belonging to the phylogenetic groups B.FTNF002-00 and B.13 in Switzerland. This finding suggests a broader spread of this group in Europe than previously reported. Until recently, only strains belonging to the Western European cluster (group B.FTNF002-00) had been isolated from tularaemia cases in Switzerland. The endemic strains belonging to group B.FTNF002-00 are sensitive to erythromycin, in contrast to the strains of the newly detected group B.13 that are resistant to this antibiotic. All the strains tested were susceptible to ciprofloxacin, streptomycin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid and chloramphenicol but showed reduced susceptibility to tetracycline when tested in a growth medium supplemented with divalent cations. The data show a previously undetected spread of group B.13 westwards in Europe, associated with changes in the antibiotic resistance profile relevant to treatment of tularaemia.


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