For Laboratorians

CDC’s Streptococcus Laboratory supports state and local health departments to characterize streptococcal isolates and is active in many international collaborations. The laboratory is a reference center for the identification and characterization of streptococci and other Gram-positive catalase-negative cocci.

Pneumococcal strain reacting with type-specific antiserum (Quellung reaction) prepared in CDC’s Streptococcus Lab.

Streptococcus pneumoniae are lancet-shaped, Gram-positive bacteria.

There are more than 100 distinct serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumococcal capsule serves as the target for current highly effective multivalent vaccines against this global pathogen.

Streptococcus Laboratory

Domestically, CDC’s Streptococcus Laboratory supports the national population-based Active Bacterial Core surveillance through

  • Pneumococcal serotyping
  • Antimicrobial susceptibility testing
  • Strain characterization by whole genome sequencing

Globally, the lab supports pneumococcal conjugate vaccine introduction and evaluation by providing lab training and improved strain surveillance methods.

Reference laboratory

CDC’s lab is one of few specialized reference laboratories that generate capsular typing antisera for resolution of most pneumococcal serotypes. In addition to maintaining this gold standard, the Streptococcus Laboratory has devised relatively simple molecular methodologies and a genome sequence-based approach for deducing pneumococcal serotypes. These molecular methodologies allow all labs with conventional or real-time PCR capabilities to perform meaningful serotype surveillance.

Learn more about the CDC Streptococcus Laboratory and its epidemiologic and reference services.