Frequently Asked Questions about Contacting CDC’s Streptococcus Laboratory

Please review the following frequently asked questions before contacting CDC’s Streptococcus Laboratory.

Clinicians and microbiologists evaluating pneumococcal isolates with the following characteristics should contact their state or local health departments for further assistance:

  • Pneumococci with potentially novel features, such as an unusual susceptibility profile
  • Concern about outbreaks related to pneumococci, streptococci (other than pneumococci), or other catalase-negative, Gram-positive cocci

CDC is available to offer epidemiologic assistance to state and local health departments.

Q: What is CDC’s role in characterization of non-pneumococcal streptococci identified through surveillance?

A: CDC performs whole-genome sequence-based typing and characterization of invasive group A and group B isolates from a limited number of sites that are part of the Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs) areas. These areas include about 10% of the population (about 34 million individuals).

Q: Does CDC perform regular serotyping or other characterization testing for all S. pneumoniae isolates in the United States?

A: No. CDC only performs whole-genome sequence-based typing and characterization on invasive isolates from the limited number of sites that are part of the ABCs areas. These areas include a total population of about 34 million individuals.

Q: I am a clinician practicing outside the ABCs areas. Can I request to have typing or other characterization testing performed on isolates that are not part of CDC’s routine surveillance area?

A: First, you need to contact your state health department. Several state public health laboratories can perform pneumococcal serotyping and confirmatory susceptibility testing.

Q: I am a clinician practicing inside an ABCs area. How do I request typing of the isolate(s) of concern?

A: If an isolate is available, it will be forwarded to one or more ABCs reference laboratories for susceptibility testing and serotyping. Please contact your state health department for more information about the timing of this testing.

Q: Can I request that isolates from patients who have received a pneumococcal vaccine be typed by CDC’s Streptococcus Laboratory?

A: CDC is not soliciting isolates from PCV13-vaccinated individuals outside the ABCs areas. CDC does consider requests for serotyping or other characterization of isolates from patients who have received a pneumococcal vaccine on a case-by-case basis.

Q: I work at a state or local health department, hospital, clinic, nursing home, or other large facility and have a cluster of isolates I would like to have serotyped. Can I request to have typing or other characterization testing performed on isolates that are not part of the ABCs area?

A: If you work for a state health department and have already determined that your state public health laboratory is unable to perform the necessary testing, please complete the appropriate form to request testing assistance from CDC. If you do not work for a state health department, first contact your state’s department of public health, which will investigate the cases and request help from CDC if necessary.

Q: My state public health laboratory is interested in developing our own serotyping capacity. What advice can CDC give us?

A: State public health laboratories interested in developing their own serotyping capacity might consider a PCR-based approach. CDC can provide information or training on this topic. Email StrepLab@cdc.gov for more information.

Q: My state public health laboratory is interested in whole-genome sequencing of streptococcal isolates, building our own sequencing capacity, and/or analyzing our data. What advice can CDC give us?

A: State public health laboratories interested in developing their own whole-genome sequencing capacity can contact CDC for information or training on this topic. State public health laboratories who already perform their own whole-genome sequencing can contact CDC for support for sequence analysis. Email StrepLab@cdc.gov for more information.

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Page last reviewed: June 15, 2018