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Invasive disease caused by the encapsulated bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite the introduction of successful conjugate polysaccharide vaccines that target disease-associated strains. In addition, resistance, or more accurately reduced susceptibility, to therapeutic antibiotics is spreading in populations of these organisms. There is therefore a continuing requirement for the surveillance of vaccine and non-vaccine antigens and antibiotic susceptibilities among isolates from invasive disease, which is only partially met by conventional methods. This need can be met with molecular and especially nucleotide sequence-based typing methods, which are fully developed in the case of N. meningitidis and which could be more widely deployed in clinical laboratories for S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae.

Original publication




Journal article


Microbiology (Reading, England)

Publication Date





2181 - 2195


Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.


Humans, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Meningococcal Infections, Haemophilus Infections, Pneumococcal Infections, Microbial Sensitivity Tests, Population Surveillance, Disease Outbreaks, Molecular Epidemiology, Molecular Typing