Background: Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 8 incidence has increased in Denmark after the introduction of pneumococcal conjugated vaccines (PCV). The mechanism behind the serotype 8 replacement is not well understood. In this study, we aimed to present epidemiological data on invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and molecular characterization of 96 serotype 8 clinical isolates. Methods: IPD data from 1999 to 2019 were used to calculate the incidence and age distribution. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis was performed on 96 isolates (6.8% of the total serotype 8 IPD isolates in the period) to characterize the isolates with respect to pneumococcal lineage traits, a range of genes with potential species discrimination, presence of colonization and virulence factors, and molecular resistance pattern. Results: The serotype 8 IPD incidence increased significantly (P < 0.05) for the age groups above 15 years after the introduction of PCV13, primarily affecting the elderly (65+). All isolates were phenotypically susceptible to penicillin, erythromycin and clindamycin. Molecular characterization revealed seven different MLST profiles with ST53 as the most prevalent lineage (87.5%) among the analyzed serotype 8 isolates. The genes covering the cell-surface proteins: lytA, rspB, pspA, psaA & Xisco and the pneumococcal toxin pneumolysin = ply were present in all isolates, while genes for the membrane transporter proteins: piaA/piaB/piaC; the capsular genes: cpsA (wzg) & psrP; the metallo-binding proteins zmpB & zmpC; and the neuroamidase proteins: nanA/nanB were variably present. Surprisingly, the putative transcriptional regulator gene SP2020 was not present in all isolates (98%). Susceptibility to penicillin, erythromycin and clindamycin was molecularly confirmed. Conclusion: The observed serotype 8 replacement was not significantly reflected with a change in the MLST profile or changes in antibiotic resistance- or virulence determinants.
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