What is different about serotype 1 pneumococci?

Neil D Ritchie, Tim J Mitchell, Tom J Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Serotype 1 Streptococcus pneumoniae is among the most commonly isolated serotype in invasive pneumococcal disease but is rarely found causing asymptomatic nasopharyngeal colonization. Compared to infection by other serotypes, infection caused by serotype 1 is more likely to be identified in young patients without comorbidities but is generally associated with a lower mortality. Empyema and extrapulmonary manifestations are common. Outbreaks of serotype 1 disease have been reported in closed communities and epidemics are particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa. The serotype 1 capsular polysaccharide is a zwitterionic structure that enables it to function as a T-cell dependent antigen under some circumstances, in contrast to other pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides that are T-cell independent antigens. There are also differences in the key virulence factor pneumolysin in some serotype 1 isolates. The clinical significance of these differences remains to be determined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalFuture Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Capsules
  • Humans
  • Pneumococcal Infections
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Virulence Factors


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