A community outbreak of conjunctivitis caused by nontypeable Streptococcus pneumoniae in Minnesota

Jessica M. Buck, Catherine Lexau, Miriam Shapiro, Anita Glennen, David J. Boxrud, Bonnie Koziol, Cynthia G. Whitney, Bernard Beall, Richard Danila, Ruth Lynfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) was notified of an outbreak of conjunctivitis in city A with cultures positive for Streptococcus pneumoniae. METHODS: MDH staff contacted clinics and schools in city A and city B regarding conjunctivitis cases, reviewed clinical findings of conjunctivitis cases in city A and collected isolates for subtyping. RESULTS: Between September 1 and December 12, 2003, cities A and B reported 735 conjunctivitis cases. Fifty-one percent of the cases were reported from schools, childcare centers and colleges. Adults were more likely to report itching, burning or swelling of the eye(s); children were more likely to report crusty eyes (P < 0.05). Forty-nine percent of conjunctival cultures (71 of 144) were positive for S. pneumoniae. All isolates were nontypeable by serotyping. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis identified 3 clonal groups with 84% of isolates belonging to one clonal group. Multilocus sequence typing revealed that isolates had the same multilocus sequence type as isolates from a 2002 outbreak at a New England college. CONCLUSIONS: This outbreak was widespread in the community and conjunctivitis clinical presentation varied by age. The predominant strains in this outbreak were related to a pneumococcal strain implicated in prior conjunctivitis outbreaks, suggesting these strains have a predilection for causing conjunctivitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)906-911
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Conjunctivitis
  • Disease outbreak
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae


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