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High-resolution multilocus sequence typing reveals novel urogenital Chlamydia trachomatis strains in women in Mopani district, South Africa
  1. Bart Versteeg1,
  2. Jan Henk Dubbink2,3,
  3. Sylvia M Bruisten1,4,
  4. James A McIntyre5,
  5. Servaas A Morré2,3,
  6. Remco PH Peters5
  1. 1Public Health Laboratory, Cluster Infectious Diseases, Public Health Service Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Laboratory of Immunogenetics, Department of Medical Microbiology & infection Control, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Genetics and Cell Biology, Institute for Public Health Genomics (IPHG), Research School GROW (School for Oncology & Developmental Biology), Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Center for Infections and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  5. 5Anova Health institute, Johannesburg, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bart Versteeg, Public Health Service of Amsterdam, Cluster of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Laboratory, Nieuwe Achtergracht 100, Amsterdam 1018 WT, The Netherlands; bversteeg{at}


Objectives Recently, we reported a high prevalence (16%) of urogenital Chlamydia trachomatis infections among women in a rural setting in South Africa. Molecular epidemiological studies on C. trachomatis infections could provide insights into the characteristics of this epidemic, yet such data are not available. The objective of this study was therefore to assess the distribution of C. trachomatis strains among women from a South African rural community, the Mopani district, and to compare it with strains from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Methods High-resolution multilocus sequence typing (hr-MLST) was used to study urogenital C. trachomatis infections in women visiting primary healthcare facilities across rural Mopani District in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Sequence types (STs) were compared with 100 strains from women visiting the sexually transmitted infection clinic in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Results Full hr-MLST data were obtained for C. trachomatis infection in 43 women from Mopani district. Using the complete hr-MLST profile of all 43 women from Mopani district, 26 STs could be identified, of which 18 (69%) were novel to the hr-MLST database. The remaining STs clustered together with strains from Amsterdam.

Conclusions Hr-MLST data revealed a diverse molecular epidemiology with novel STs and a specific cluster for the Mopani district. Also C. trachomatis types that occur worldwide were detected.


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