Genetic and pathogenic difference between Streptococcus agalactiae serotype Ia fish and human isolates

Chishih Chu, Pei Yu Huang, Hung Ming Chen, Ying Hsiang Wang, I. An Tsai, Chih Cheng Lu, Che Chun Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS) is a common pathogen to infect newborn, woman, the elderly, and immuno-compromised human and fish. 37 fish isolates and 554 human isolates of the GBS in 2007-2012 were investigated in serotypes, antibiotic susceptibility, genetic difference and pathogenicity to tilapia. Results: PCR serotyping determined serotype Ia for all fish GBS isolates and only in 3.2 % (3-4.2 %) human isolates. For fish isolates, all consisted a plasmid less than 6 kb and belonged to ST7 type, which includes mainly pulsotypes I and Ia, with a difference in a deletion at the largest DNA fragment. These fish isolates were susceptible to all antimicrobials tested in 2007 and increased in non-susceptibility to penicillin, and resistance to clindamycin and ceftriaxone in 2011. Differing in pulsotype and lacking plasmid from fish isolates, human serotype Ia isolates were separated into eight pulsotypes II-IX. Main clone ST23 included pulsotypes II and IIa (50 %) and ST483 consisted of pulsotype III. Human serotype Ia isolates were all susceptible to ceftriaxone and penicillin and few were resistant to erythromycin, azithromycin, clindamycin, levofloxacin and moxifloxacine with the resistant rate of 20 % or less. Using tilapia to analyze the pathogenesis, fish isolates could cause more severe symptoms, including hemorrhage of the pectoral fin, hemorrhage of the gill, and viscous black and common scites, and mortality (>95 % for pulsotype I) than the human isolates (<30 %); however, the fish pulostype Ia isolate 912 with deletion caused less symptoms and the lowest mortality (<50 %) than pulsotype I isolates. Conclusion: Genetic, pathogenic, and antimicrobial differences demonstrate diverse origin of human and fish serotype Ia isolates. The pulsotype Ia of fish serotype Ia isolates may be used as vaccine strains to prevent the GBS infection in fish.

Original languageEnglish
Article number175
JournalBMC Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 02 08 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).


  • MLST
  • Pulsotype
  • Serotype
  • Streptococcosis
  • Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS)
  • Tilapia


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