Objectives: In 2006 a new variant of Chlamydia trachomatis (nvCT), with a deletion in the cryptic plasmid, was reported in Sweden. This deletion included the targets for the genetic diagnostic systems used in many clinical laboratories and resulted in thousands of false negative results. The aim of this study was to characterize consecutive Chlamydia tissue culture positive samples from 2006 in Örebro County, after identification of the nvCT, and to compare the results from samples collected in the same county in 1999-2000. The study also aimed to evaluate the discriminatory capacity of multilocus sequence typing (MLST) compared to ompA sequencing.
Methods: ompA sequencing and MLST was used to characterize 100 consecutive Chlamydia tissue culture positive samples.
Results: A significant (p<0.001) increase of genotype E, from 47% in 1999-2000 to 69% in 2006, was detected. All 41 nvCT isolates from 2006 displayed an identical ompA genotype E and MLST profile. Excluding the nvCT isolates, the distribution of ompA genotypes is similar to the genotyping results from 1999-2000. Among the wild type genotype E isolates from 2006, 14 unique MLST sequence types were obtained from 26 isolates while they were identical in ompA genotyping. The discriminatory power (D) of C. trachomatis strains in this material was 83.5% using the MLST system compared to 49.5% utilizing ompA sequencing.
Conclusion: In all, MLST enables improved studies of the molecular epidemiology of C. trachomatis. All nvCT isolates from 2006 displayed an identical ompA genotype E and MLST profile, which strongly indicates a clonal spread of the nvCT.