#Genomic analysis of #Neisseria meningitidis carriage isolates during an #outbreak of serogroup C clonal complex 11, #Tuscany, #Italy (PLoS One, abstract)

[Source: PLoS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Genomic analysis of Neisseria meningitidis carriage isolates during an outbreak of serogroup C clonal complex 11, Tuscany, Italy

Luigina Ambrosio, Arianna Neri , Cecilia Fazio , Gian Maria Rossolini, Paola Vacca, Eleonora Riccobono, Fabio Voller, Alessandro Miglietta, Paola Stefanelli

Published: May 28, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217500




In 2015–2016, a cross-sectional carriage survey was performed in Tuscany Region, Italy, during an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease due to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C clonal complex 11 (MenC:cc11). This study aims to evaluate the genomic profile of meningococcal carriage isolates collected during the survey.


Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was performed using Illumina MiSeq on 85 cultivated meningococcal carriage isolates received at the Dept. of Infectious Disease, National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS), as National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Invasive Meningococcal Disease (IMD). De novo assembled genomes were scanned by the BIGSdb platform to assign: the genotypic profiles, the cgMLST, the vaccine antigen variants and allele types of antimicrobial resistance associated genes, together with denitrification pathway loci.


Capsule null and non-groupable meningococci accounted for 52.9% and 10.6%, respectively. Among the remaining carriage isolates, serogroup B was the predominant (71.0%). Serogroup C meningococci were culture negative and unavailable for WGS. Overall, 64 genotypic profiles were identified and, based on cgMLST, isolates clustered according to clonal complexes. Eight isolates (9.4%) harbored at least one gene encoding a 4CMenB vaccine antigen. Mutated penAalleles were found in more than 82%. Finally, complete aniA and norB coding sequences were detected among 71.8% of carriage isolates.


Meningococcal carriage isolates collected during the MenC:cc11 outbreak were characterized by an extensive genetic diversity. The lack of outbreak-related isolates among carriage might be attributable to the high transmissibility with low duration of colonization of MenC:cc11 meningococci.


Citation: Ambrosio L, Neri A, Fazio C, Rossolini GM, Vacca P, Riccobono E, et al. (2019) Genomic analysis of Neisseria meningitidis carriage isolates during an outbreak of serogroup C clonal complex 11, Tuscany, Italy. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0217500. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217500

Editor: Daniela Flavia Hozbor, Universidad Nacional de la Plata, ARGENTINA

Received: January 25, 2019; Accepted: May 13, 2019; Published: May 28, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Ambrosio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: The genome sequences of the isolates have been deposited in the PubMLST Neisseria database (https://pubmlst.org/neisseria/) and all relevant data are within the paper.

Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this work.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Neisseria meningitidis sg C; Meningococcal meningitis; Italy.



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I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.

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