Elizabethkingia anophelis causes meningitis, bloodstream infections, and respiratory infections in immunocompromised individuals. We examined two E. anophelis strains isolated from the first life-threatening cases caused by this species in Japan to determine the phylogenetic origin and genomic features of them.
We performed whole genome-based analysis to clarify the genetic relationship for the two strains (EK0004 and EK0079) and Elizabethkingia sp. strains isolated from worldwide and to characterize the genomic features such as the prevalence of virulence- and antimicrobial resistance (AMR)-related genes.
A 29-year-old man with hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma and a 52-year-old man with systemic lupus erythematosus developed fatal bacteremia and meningitis due to E. anophelis, respectively.
Two strains, EK0004 and EK0079, were genetically different but most closely related to the strains isolated from the largest outbreak in Wisconsin, USA from 2015 to 2016, and the strain isolated from cerebrospinal fluid of a patient in Florida, USA in 1982, respectively. The two strains contained AMR-related genes such as those encoding for an extended-spectrum β-lactamase and multiple metallo-β-lactamases and several virulence-related genes such as capsular polysaccharide synthesis gene clusters.
Although further functional analyses are required to understand the virulence of these clones, these finding suggests that enough caution of E. anophelis infection in immunocompromised patients is required since the number of infections by this species is increasing outside Japan.

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