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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology
Volume 16, Issue 3, Pages 171-174
Original Article

Potential Capsule Switching from Serogroup Y to B: The Characterization of Three such Neisseria meningitidis Isolates Causing Invasive Meningococcal Disease in Canada

Raymond SW Tsang,1 Dennis KS Law,1 Shaun D Tyler,2 Gwen S Stephens,3 Mark Bigham,3,4 and Wendell D Zollinger5

1Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria and Vaccine Preventable Bacterial Diseases, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
2DNA Core Facility, National Microbiology Laboratory, Health Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
3British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, British Columbia, Canada
4Canadian Blood Services and Yukon Blood Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
5Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Received 7 September 2004; Accepted 10 January 2005

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Three group B Neisseria meningitidis isolates, recovered from meningococcal disease cases in Canada and typed as B:2c:P1.5, were characterized. Multilocus sequence typing showed that all three isolates were related because of an identical sequence type (ST) 573. Isolates typed as 2c:P1.5 are common in serogroup Y meningococci but rare in isolates from serogroups B or C. Although no serogroup Y isolates have been typed as ST-573, eight isolates showed five to six housekeeping gene alleles that were identical to that of ST-573. This suggested that the B:2c:P1.5 isolates may have originated from serogroup Y organisms, possibly by capsule switching.