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 streptococcal isolates (Streptococcus pneumoniae, groups A and B streptococci) with the following characteristics should contact their state or local health departments for further assistance:
- Streptococci 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 and laboratory assistance to state and local health departments.
Q: What is CDC’s role in characterization of streptococci identified through surveillance?
A: CDC performs whole-genome sequence-based typing and characterization (including serotyping/emm typing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing) of invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae and groups A and B streptococcal 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: I am a clinician, can I request to have serotyping/emm typing performed on isolates that are not part of CDC’s routine surveillance area?
A: Yes, but first you need to contact your state health department. Several state public health laboratories can perform serotyping testing under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Serotyping and emm typing can be performed at CDC but these results are intended for public health purposes only and must not be communicated to the patient, their care provider, or placed in the patient’s medical record. These results should not be used for diagnosis, treatment, or assessment of patient health or management.
Q: I am a clinician, can I request to have antimicrobial susceptibility testing performed on streptococcal isolates? How do I request typing of the isolate(s) of concern?
A: Yes, but first you need to contact your state health department. Several state public health laboratories can perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing on streptococcal isolates under CLIA. The CDC Streptococcus Laboratory can also perform this test under CLIA (see test directory CDC-10214).
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 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.
Serotyping can be performed at CDC but these results are intended for public health purposes only and must not be communicated to the patient, their care provider, or placed in the patient’s medical record. These results should not be used for diagnosis, treatment, or assessment of patient health or management. If this test needs to be under CLIA, several state public health laboratories can perform pneumococcal serotyping.
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 or emm typed. Can I request to have typing or other characterization testing performed on isolates?
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 below to request testing assistance from CDC.
- Streptococcus pneumoniae Testing Request Form or
- Other Streptococci and Catalase-negative, Gram-positive Cocci Testing Request Form
If you do not work for a state health department, first contact your state health department, 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/emm typing capacity. What advice can CDC give us?
A: State public health laboratories interested in developing their own serotyping and/or emm typing capacity might consider a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)- or whole genome sequencing (WGS)-based approach. CDC can provide information or training on this topic. Email StrepLab@cdc.gov for more information.