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AbstractThe expansion of quinolone-resistant Neisseria meningitidis clone ChinaCC4821-R1-C/B from ST-4821 clonal complex (cc4821) caused a serogroup shift from serogroup A to C in invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in China. To establish the relationship among globally distributed cc4821 meningococci, we analysed whole genome sequence data from 173 cc4821 meningococci isolated in four continents from 1972-2019. These meningococci clustered into four sub-lineages (1-4), with sub-lineage 1 primarily comprising serogroup C IMD isolates (82%, 41/50). Most isolates from outside China formed a distinct sub-lineage (81.6%, 40/49, the Europe-USA cluster), with the typical strain designation B:P1.17-6,23:F3-36:ST-3200(cc4821) and harbouring mutations in penicillin-binding protein 2. These data show that the quinolone-resistant clone ChinaCC4821-R1-C/B has expanded to other countries. The increasing global distribution of B:cc4821 meningococci raises concern that cc4821 has the potential to cause a global pandemic and, this would be challenging to control though there is indirect evidence that Trumenba® vaccine might afford some protection.

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