Genetic relationships among 80 isolates of nonencapsulated recovered from different disease types were determined by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MEE) at 13 enzyme loci in an attempt to assess the association between multilocus genotype and disease. The isolates were obtained from 15 patients with meningitis, 10 with otitis media, 19 with chronic bronchitis, 20 with cystic fibrosis, and 16 were obtained from healthy carriers. The 80 isolates were assigned to 69 electrophoretic types (ETs) falling into 5 groups. Isolates from each disease entity were represented by a variety of genotypes; however, cluster analysis from a matrix of genetic distances between ETs revealed that the ETs of the otitis media and meningitis isolates were all clustered within a genetic distance of 0.55 (group 1). In addition, no genotypes were shared between carrier isolates and isolates from cases of disease. isolates from healthy individuals were distributed significantly differently from those from chronic bronchitis meningitis and otitis media patients. The genetic diversity of carrier strains was greatest, although not statistically different from that of isolates from patients with disease. It was concluded that the genetic distribution of acute disease isolates is not random over the five ET groups, although the genetic diversity within the groups is not different. The effect of bacterial persistence in the host on the genetic diversity of is discussed.


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