The sequence of the Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (S equi) M-like protein (SeM) gene was determined for 105 isolates of S equi from strangles outbreaks in the UK during 2010 and compared with previous data from 2007 to 2008. Twenty-three distinct alleles were identified, including 11 novel alleles. One allele giving rise to a putative truncated M protein was identified from the guttural pouch of an asymptomatic carrier. Allele 9 was the most prevalent, comprising 57.7 per cent of isolates, followed by allele 6 (10.3 per cent). Significant changes in allele prevalence were found between 2007, 2008 and 2010, with an increasing prevalence in SeM-9-related alleles and a corresponding decreasing prevalence in SeM-6-related alleles observed over the period (P<0.001). Geographical proximity of outbreaks caused by some uncommon alleles was apparent between 2007, 2008 and 2010.
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