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1.  Effects of Community-Wide Vaccination with PCV-7 on Pneumococcal Nasopharyngeal Carriage in The Gambia: A Cluster-Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(10):e1001107.
In a cluster-randomized trial conducted in Gambian villages, Anna Roca and colleagues find that vaccination of children with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines reduced vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage even among nonvaccinated older children and adults.
Introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) of limited valency is justified in Africa by the high burden of pneumococcal disease. Long-term beneficial effects of PCVs may be countered by serotype replacement. We aimed to determine the impact of PCV-7 vaccination on pneumococcal carriage in rural Gambia.
Methods and Findings
A cluster-randomized (by village) trial of the impact of PCV-7 on pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage was conducted in 21 Gambian villages between December 2003 to June 2008 (5,441 inhabitants in 2006). Analysis was complemented with data obtained before vaccination. Because efficacy of PCV-9 in young Gambian children had been shown, it was considered unethical not to give PCV-7 to young children in all of the study villages. PCV-7 was given to children below 30 mo of age and to those born during the trial in all study villages. Villages were randomized (older children and adults) to receive one dose of PCV-7 (11 vaccinated villages) or meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine (10 control villages). Cross-sectional surveys (CSSs) to collect nasopharyngeal swabs were conducted before vaccination (2,094 samples in the baseline CSS), and 4–6, 12, and 22 mo after vaccination (1,168, 1,210, and 446 samples in CSS-1, -2, and -3, respectively).
A time trend analysis showed a marked fall in the prevalence of vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage in all age groups following vaccination (from 23.7% and 26.8% in the baseline CSS to 7.1% and 8.5% in CSS-1, in vaccinated and control villages, respectively). The prevalence of vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage was lower in vaccinated than in control villages among older children (5 y to <15 y of age) and adults (≥15 y of age) at CSS-2 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.15 [95% CI 0.04–0.57] and OR = 0.32 [95% CI 0.10–0.98], respectively) and at CSS-3 (OR = 0.37 [95% CI 0.15–0.90] for older children, and 0% versus 7.6% for adults in vaccinated and control villages, respectively). Differences in the prevalence of non-vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage between vaccinated and control villages were small.
Vaccination of Gambian children reduced vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage across all age groups, indicating a “herd effect” in non-vaccinated older children and adults. No significant serotype replacement was detected.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The prevention of pneumococcal disease, especially in children in developing countries, is a major international public health priority. Despite all the international attention on the UN's Millennium Development Goal 4—to reduce deaths in children under five years by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015—pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis together compose more than 25% of the 10 million deaths occurring in children less than five years of age. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading bacterial cause of these diseases, and the World Health Organization estimates that approximately 800,000 children die each year of invasive pneumococcal disease.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are currently available and protect against the serotypes that most commonly cause invasive pneumococcal disease in young children in North America and Europe. Such vaccines have been highly successful in reducing the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in both vaccinated children and in the non-vaccinated older population by reducing nasopharyngeal carriage (presence of pneumococcal bacteria in the back of the nose) in vaccinated infants, resulting in decreased transmission to contacts—the so-called herd effect. However, few countries with the highest burden of invasive pneumococcal disease, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, have introduced the vaccine into their national immunization programs.
Why Was This Study Done?
The features of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage and invasive pneumococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa are different than in other regions. Therefore, careful evaluation of the immune effects of vaccination requires long-term, longitudinal studies. As an alternative to such long-term observational studies, and to anticipate the potential long-term effects of the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in sub-Saharan Africa, the researchers conducted a cluster-randomized (by village) trial in The Gambia in which the whole populations of some villages were immunized with the vaccine PCV-7, and other villages received a control.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
With full consent from communities, the researchers randomized 21 similar villages in a rural region of western Gambia to receive pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or a control—meningococcal serogroup C conjugated vaccine, which is unlikely to affect pneumococcal carriage rates. For ethical reasons, the researchers only randomized residents aged over 30 months—all young infants received PCV-7, as a similar vaccine had already been shown to be effective in young infants. Before immunization began, the researchers took nasopharyngeal swabs from a random selection of village residents to determine the baseline pneumococcal carriage rates of both the serotypes of pneumococci covered by the vaccine (vaccine types, VTs) and the serotypes of pneumococci not covered in the vaccine (non-vaccine types, NVTs). The researchers then took nasopharyngeal swabs from a random sample of 1,200 of village residents in both groups of villages in cross-sectional surveys at 4–6, 12, and 22 months after vaccination. Villagers and laboratory staff were unaware of which vaccine was which (that is, they were blinded).
Before immunization, the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage in both groups was high, at 71.1%, and decreased with age. After vaccination, the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage in all three surveys was similar between vaccinated and control villages, showing a marked fall. However, the prevalence of carriage of VT pneumococci was significantly lower in vaccinated than in control villages in all surveys for all age groups. The prevalence of carriage of NVT pneumococci was similar in vaccinated and in control villages, except for a slightly higher prevalence of NVT pneumococci among vaccinated communities in adults at 4–6 months after vaccination. The researchers also found that the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage fell markedly after vaccination and reached minimum levels at 12 months in both study arms and in all age groups.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that vaccination of young Gambian children reduced carriage of VT pneumococci in vaccinated children but also in vaccinated and non-vaccinated older children and adults, revealing a potential herd effect from vaccination of young children. Furthermore, the immunological pressure induced by vaccinating whole communities did not lead to a community-wide increase in carriage of NVT pneumococci during a two-year period after vaccination. The researchers plan to conduct more long-term follow-up studies to determine nasopharyngeal carriage in these communities.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization has information about pneumococcus
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about pneumococcal conjugate vaccination
PMCID: PMC3196470  PMID: 22028630
2.  Outbreaks of Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage in day care cohorts in Finland – implications for elimination of transmission 
Day care centre (DCC) attendees play a central role in maintaining the circulation of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) in the population. Exposure within families and within DCCs are the main risk factors for colonisation with pneumococcal serotypes in DCC attendees.
Transmission of serotype specific carriage was analysed with a continuous time event history model, based on longitudinal data from day care attendees and their family members. Rates of acquisition, conditional on exposure, were estimated in a Bayesian framework utilising latent processes of carriage. To ensure a correct level of exposure, non-participating day care attendees and their family members were included in the analysis. Posterior predictive simulations were used to quantify transmission patterns within day care cohorts, to estimate the basic reproduction number for pneumococcal carriage in a population of day care cohorts, and to assess the critical vaccine efficacy against carriage to eliminate pneumococcal transmission.
The model, validated by posterior predictive sampling, was successful in capturing the strong temporal clustering of pneumococcal serotypes in the day care cohorts. In average 2.7 new outbreaks of pneumococcal carriage initiate in a day care cohort each month. While 39% of outbreaks were of size one, the mean outbreak size was 7.6 individuals and the mean length of an outbreak was 2.8 months. The role of families in creating and maintaining transmission was minimal, as only 10% of acquisitions in day care attendees were from family members. Considering a population of day care cohorts, a child-to-child basic reproduction number was estimated as 1.4 and the critical vaccine efficacy against acquisition of carriage as 0.3.
Pneumococcal transmission occurs in serotype specific outbreaks of carriage, driven by within-day-care transmission and between-serotype competition. An amplifying effect of the day care cohorts enhances the spread of pneumococcal serotypes within the population. The effect of vaccination, in addition to reducing susceptibility to pneumococcal carriage in the vaccinated, induces a herd effect, thus creating a counter-effect to the amplifying effect of the cohort. Consequently, the critical vaccine efficacy against carriage, required for elimination of transmission, is relatively low. Use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines is expected to induce a notable herd protection against pneumococcal disease.
PMCID: PMC2717096  PMID: 19558701
3.  Effect of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination on Serotype-Specific Carriage and Invasive Disease in England: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001017.
A cross sectional study by Stefan Flasche and coworkers document the serotype replacement of Streptococcus pneumoniae that has occurred in England since the introduction of PCV7 vaccination.
We investigated the effect of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) programme in England on serotype-specific carriage and invasive disease to help understand its role in serotype replacement and predict the impact of higher valency vaccines.
Methods and Findings
Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken from children <5 y old and family members (n = 400) 2 y after introduction of PCV7 into routine immunization programs. Proportions carrying Streptococcus pneumoniae and serotype distribution among carried isolates were compared with a similar population prior to PCV7 introduction. Serotype-specific case∶carrier ratios (CCRs) were estimated using national data on invasive disease. In vaccinated children and their contacts vaccine-type (VT) carriage decreased, but was offset by an increase in non-VT carriage, with no significant overall change in carriage prevalence, odds ratio 1.06 (95% confidence interval 0.76–1.49). The lower CCRs of the replacing serotypes resulted in a net reduction in invasive disease in children. The additional serotypes covered by higher valency vaccines had low carriage but high disease prevalence. Serotype 11C emerged as predominant in carriage but caused no invasive disease whereas 8, 12F, and 22F emerged in disease but had very low carriage prevalence.
Because the additional serotypes included in PCV10/13 have high CCRs but low carriage prevalence, vaccinating against them is likely to significantly reduce invasive disease with less risk of serotype replacement. However, a few serotypes with high CCRs could mitigate the benefits of higher valency vaccines. Assessment of the effect of PCV on carriage as well as invasive disease should be part of enhanced surveillance activities for PCVs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Pneumococcal diseases—major causes of illness and death in children and adults worldwide—are caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that often colonizes the nasopharynx (the area of the throat behind the nose). Carriage of S. pneumoniae bacteria does not necessarily cause disease. However, these bacteria can cause local, noninvasive diseases such as ear infections and sinusitis and, more rarely, they can spread into the lungs, the bloodstream, or the covering of the brain, where they cause pneumonia, septicemia, and meningitis, respectively. Although these invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPDs) can be successfully treated if administered early, they can be fatal. Consequently, it is better to protect people against IPDs through vaccination than risk infection. Vaccination primes the immune system to recognize and attack disease-causing organisms (pathogens) rapidly and effectively by exposing it to weakened or dead pathogens or to pathogen molecules (antigens) that it recognizes as foreign.
Why Was This Study Done?
There are more than 90 S. pneumoniae variants or “serotypes” characterized by different polysaccharide (complex sugar) coats, which trigger the immune response against S. pneumoniae and determine each serotype's propensity to cause IPD. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine PCV7 contains polysaccharides (linked to a protein carrier) from the seven serotypes mainly responsible for IPD in the US in 2000 when routine childhood PCV7 vaccination was introduced in that country. PCV7 prevents both IPD caused by the serotypes it contains and carriage of these serotypes, which means that, after vaccination, previously uncommon, nonvaccine serotypes can colonize the nasopharynx. If these serotypes have a high invasiveness potential, then “serotype replacement” could reduce the benefits of vaccination. In this cross-sectional study (a study that investigates the relationship between a disease and an intervention in a population at one time point), the researchers investigate the effect of the UK PCV7 vaccination program (which began in 2006) on serotype-specific carriage and IPD in England to understand the role of PCV7 in serotype replacement and to predict the likely impact of vaccines containing additional serotypes (higher valency vaccines).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers examined nasopharyngeal swabs taken from PCV7-vaccinated children and their families for S. pneumoniae, determined the serotype of any bacteria they found, and compared the proportion of people carrying S. pneumoniae (carrier prevalence) and the distribution of serotypes in this study population and in a similar population that was studied in 2000/2001, before the PCV vaccination program began. Overall, there was no statistically significant change in carrier prevalence, but carriage of vaccine serotypes decreased in vaccinated children and their contacts whereas carriage of nonvaccine serotypes increased. The serotype-specific case-to-carrier ratios (CCRs; a measure of serotype invasiveness that was estimated using national IPD data) of the replacing serotypes were generally lower than those of the original serotypes, which resulted in a net reduction in IPD in children. Moreover, before PCV7 vaccination began, PCV7-included serotypes were responsible for similar proportions of pneumococcal carriage and disease; afterwards, the additional serotypes present in the higher valency vaccines PVC10 and PVC13 were responsible for a higher proportion of disease than carriage. Finally, three serotypes not present in the higher valency vaccines with outstandingly high CCRs (high invasiveness potential) are identified.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings document the serotype replacement of S. pneumoniae that has occurred in England since the introduction of PCV7 vaccination and highlight the importance of assessing the effects of pneumococcal vaccines on carriage as well as on IPDs. Because the additional serotypes included in PCV10 and PCV13 have high CCRs but low carriage prevalence and because most of the potential replacement serotypes have low CCRs, these findings suggest that the introduction of higher valency vaccines should further reduce the occurrence of invasive disease with limited risk of additional serotype replacement. However, the emergence of a few serotypes that have high CCRs but are not included in PCV10 and PCV13 might mitigate the benefits of higher valency vaccines. In other words, although the recent introduction of PCV13 into UK vaccination schedules is likely to have an incremental benefit on the reduction of IPD compared to PCV7, this benefit might be offset by increases in the carriage of some high CCR serotypes. These serotypes should be considered for inclusion in future vaccines.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal vaccination
The US National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has a fact sheet on pneumococcal diseases
The UK Health Protection Agency provides information on pneumococcal disease and on pneumococcal vaccines
The World Health Organization also provides information on pneumococcal vaccines
MedlinePlus has links to further information about pneumococcal infections (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3071372  PMID: 21483718
4.  Comparative analysis of Streptococcus pneumoniae transmission in Portuguese and Finnish day-care centres 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:180.
Day-care centre (DCC) attendees play a central role in maintaining the circulation of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) in the population. The prevalence of pneumococcal carriage is highest in DCC attendees but varies across countries and is found to be consistently lower in Finland than in Portugal. We compared key parameters underlying pneumococcal transmission in DCCs to understand which of these contributed to the observed differences in carriage prevalence.
Longitudinal data about serotype-specific carriage in DCC attendees in Portugal (47 children in three rooms; mean age 2 years; range 1–3 years) and Finland (91 children in seven rooms; mean age 4 years; range 1–7 years) were analysed with a continuous-time event history model in a Bayesian framework. The monthly rates of within-room transmission, community acquisition and clearing carriage were estimated.
The posterior mean of within-room transmission rate was 1.05 per month (Portugal) vs. 0.63 per month (Finland). The smaller rate of clearance in Portugal (0.57 vs. 0.73 per month) is in accordance with the children being younger. The overall community rate of acquisition was larger in the Portuguese setting (0.25 vs. 0.11 per month), in agreement with that the groups belonged to a larger DCC. The model adequately predicted the observed levels of carriage prevalence and longitudinal patterns in carriage acquisition and clearance.
The difference in prevalence of carriage (61% in Portuguese vs. 26% among Finnish DCC attendees) was assigned to the longer duration of carriage in younger attendees and a significantly higher rate of within-room transmission and community acquisition in the Portuguese setting.
PMCID: PMC3652738  PMID: 23597389
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Pneumococcus; Day care; Child; Transmission; Carriage; Prevalence; Longitudinal studies; Portugal; Finland; Statistical models; Bayesian inference; Data augmentation
5.  Dynamics of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage in healthy children attending a day care center in northern Spain. influence of detection techniques on the results 
Pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage precedes invasive infection and is the source for dissemination of the disease. Differences in sampling methodology, isolation or identification techniques, as well as the period (pre -or post-vaccination) when the study was performed, can influence the reported rates of colonization and the distribution of serotypes carried.
To evaluate the prevalence and dynamics of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization in healthy children aged 6-34 months attending a day care center with a high level of hygiene and no overcrowding. The study was performed 3-4 years after the 7-valent pneumococcal vaccine was introduced, using multiple methodologies to detect and characterize the isolates.
Over 12 months, 25 children were sampled three times, 53 children twice and 27 children once. Three Streptococcus pneumoniae typing techniques were used: Quellung, Pneumotest-Latex-kit and multiplex-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The similarity of isolates of the same serotype was established by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and occasionally the multilocus sequence type (ST) was also determined.
Overall pneumococcal carriage and multiple colonization rates were 89.5% (94/105) and 39%, respectively. Among 218 pneumococci detected, 21 different serotypes and 13 non-typeable isolates were found. The most prevalent serotypes were 19A, 16F and 15B. Serotypes 15B, 19A and 21 were mainly found as single carriage; in contrast serotypes 6B, 11A and 20, as well as infrequent serotypes, were isolated mainly as part of multiple carriage. Most 19A isolates were ST193 but most serotypes showed high genetic heterogeneity. Changes in the pneumococci colonizing each child were frequent and the same serotype detected on two occasions frequently showed a different genotype. By multiplex-PCR, 100% of pneumococci could be detected and 94% could be serotyped versus 80.3% by the Quellung reaction and Pneumotest-Latex in combination (p < 0.001).
Rates of S. pneumoniae carriage and multiple colonization were very high. Prevalent serotypes differed from those found in similar studies in the pre-vaccination period. In the same child, clearance of a pneumococcal strain and acquisition of a new one was frequent in a short period of time. The most effective technique for detecting pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriers was multiplex-PCR.
PMCID: PMC3383471  PMID: 22440017
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Cocolonization; Multiple colonization; Multiplex-PCR; Quellung reaction; Pneumotest-Latex kit
6.  Prevalence of nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococcus in preschool children attending day care in London 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2007;92(12):1073-1076.
To estimate the prevalence of nasopharyngeal (NP) carriage of pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) and describe the antibiotic resistance patterns and serotypes in young children attending group day care in London.
Design and subjects
Cross‐sectional survey of attendees at a sample of registered child day care centres (CDCCs) in a London borough.
Urban setting with a socially and culturally diverse population.
Methods and outcomes
19 CDCCs (13% of total) participated between March and November 2003. A single NP swab was required from each child, and parents completed a questionnaire about their child's health and attendance at day care. WHO methodology for pneumococcal carriage studies was followed.
30% of parents consented. 234 swabs were collected from children aged 6 months to 5 years. 53% were boys and 81% were white. 120 children (51%, 95% CI 45% to 58%) carried pneumococci in their nasopharynx. None of the isolates were resistant to penicillin (upper CL 3%). 21 isolates were resistant to erythromycin (17.5%, 95% CI 11% to 25.5%). 68 isolates (57%) were serotypes included in the 7‐valent conjugate vaccine. Non‐white children had a lower prevalence of carriage (27% vs 58%).
Conclusion: The prevalence of pneumococcal NP carriage was high. The penicillin resistance rate is lower than in many other countries and may reflect a decrease in community antibiotic prescribing in the UK. Monitoring circulating serotypes is important in the context of recent changes to the vaccination policy. Further study is required to explore the association with ethnicity and risk factors for antibiotic resistance.
PMCID: PMC2066083  PMID: 17768150
7.  Between-Strain Competition in Acquisition and Clearance of Pneumococcal Carriage—Epidemiologic Evidence From a Longitudinal Study of Day-Care Children 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2009;171(2):169-176.
The state of pneumococcal carriage—that is, pneumococcal colonization in the nasopharynx of healthy persons—represents a reservoir for the spread of pneumococci among individuals. In light of the introduction of new pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, further knowledge on the dynamics of pneumococcal carriage is important. Different serotypes (strains) of pneumococcus are known to compete with each other in colonizing human hosts. Understanding the strength and mode of between-serotype competition is important because of its implications for vaccine-induced changes in the ecology of pneumococcal carriage. Competition may work through reduced acquisition of new serotypes, due to concurrent carriage in the individual, or through enhanced clearance of serotypes in carriers who harbor more than 1 serotype simultaneously. The authors employed longitudinal data (1999–2001) on pneumococcal carriage in Danish day-care children to analyze between-serotype competition. The data included observations of carriage in children who had not been vaccinated against pneumococcus, and the level of pneumococcal antibiotic resistance and antibiotic usage in the community was very low. Clearance of any single serotype was not affected by simultaneous carriage of other serotypes. In contrast, acquisition of other serotypes in already-colonized hosts was weak (relative rate of acquisition = 0.09, 95% credible interval: 0.05, 0.15).
PMCID: PMC2800239  PMID: 19969530
child; day care; disease reservoirs; longitudinal studies; models, statistical; Streptococcus pneumoniae
8.  Nasopharyngeal carriage, serotype distribution and antimicrobial resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae among children from Brazil before the introduction of the 10-valent conjugate vaccine 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:318.
Streptococcus pneumoniae remains a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. Nasopharyngeal colonization plays an important role in the development and transmission of pneumococcal diseases, and infants and young children are considered to be the main reservoir of this pathogen. The aim of this study was to evaluate the rates and characteristics associated with nasopharyngeal carriage, the distribution of serotypes and the antimicrobial resistance profiles of Streptococcus pneumoniae among children in a large metropolitan area in Brazil before the introduction of the 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
Between March and June 2010, nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from 242 children aged <6 years attending one day care center and the emergency room of a pediatric hospital. Pneumococcal isolates were identified by conventional methods and serotypes were determined by a sequential multiplex PCR assay and/or the Quellung reaction. The antimicrobial susceptibilities of the pneumococci were assessed by the disk diffusion method. MICs for erythromycin and penicillin were also performed. Erythromycin resistance genes were investigated by PCR.
The overall colonization rate was 49.2% and it was considerably higher among children in the day care center. Pneumococcal carriage was more common among day care attenders and cohabitants with young siblings. The most prevalent serotypes were 6B, 19F, 6A, 14, 15C and 23F, which accounted for 61.2% of the isolates. All isolates were susceptible to clindamycin, levofloxacin, rifampicin and vancomycin. The highest rate of non-susceptibility was observed for sulphamethoxazole-trimethoprim (51.2%). Penicillin non-susceptible pneumococci (PNSP) accounted for 27.3% of the isolates (MICs of 0.12-4 μg/ml). Penicillin non-susceptibility was strongly associated with serotypes 14 and 23F. Hospital attendance and the presence of respiratory or general symptoms were frequently associated with PNSP carriage. The two erythromycin-resistant isolates (MICs of 2 and 4 μg/ml) belonged to serotype 6A, presented the M phenotype and harbored the mef(A/E) gene.
Correlations between serotypes, settings and penicillin non-susceptibility were observed. Serotypes coverage projected for the 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was low (45.5%), but pointed out the potential reduction of PNSP nasopharyngeal colonization by nearly 20%.
PMCID: PMC3718621  PMID: 23849314
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Nasopharyngeal carriage; Serotypes; Antimicrobial resistance; Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines
9.  Molecular epidemiological investigation to determine the source of a fatal case of serotype 22F pneumococcal meningitis 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2012;61(Pt 5):686-692.
A child’s death due to pneumococcal meningitis after contracting the disease in an after-school programme prompted an investigation to assess nasopharyngeal (NP) carriage among her contacts. The serotype of the meningitis case isolate was determined, together with the serotypes of the NP specimens of contacts, comprising the case patient’s brother, the case patient’s after-school programme contacts and the brother’s day-care centre (DCC) contacts. NP swabs from 155 children and 69 adults were obtained. Real-time PCR and conventional multiplex PCR (CM-PCR) assays were used to detect pneumococcal carriage and determine serotypes. Broth-enriched culture of NP specimens followed by pneumococcal isolation and Quellung-based serotyping were also performed. DNA extracts prepared from cerebrospinal fluid of the index case and from the NP strain isolated from the brother and from one attendee of the brother’s DCC were subjected to genotyping. Pneumococcal carriage assessed by real-time PCR and culture was 49.6 and 36.6 %, respectively (P<0.05). Twenty-three serotypes were detected using CM-PCR, with serotypes 6A/6B, 14, 19F, 6C/6D, 22F/22A, 23F and 11A/11D being the most frequent. All eight serotype 22F/22A NP specimens recovered were from children attending the brother’s DCC. The meningitis case isolate and the NP carriage isolate from the patient’s brother were both serotype 22F and shared the same new multilocus sequence type (ST6403) with the attendee of the brother’s DCC. CM-PCR proved to be useful for assessing carriage serotype distribution in a setting of high-risk pneumococcal transmission. The causal serotype appeared to be linked to the brother of the case patient and attendees of his DCC.
PMCID: PMC3542707  PMID: 22286925
10.  High Rates of Transmission of and Colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae within a Day Care Center Revealed in a Longitudinal Study▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;46(1):225-234.
Day care centers (DCCs) are unique settings where young children are at increased risk for colonization by pneumococci and Haemophilus influenzae. Although point prevalence studies in DCCs are frequent, only a few longitudinal studies on the dynamics of colonization have been published. We conducted a 1-year longitudinal study with 11 sampling periods on nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococci and H. influenzae among 47 children who attended a single DCC. All isolates were antibiotyped and genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Pneumococci were also serotyped. Of the 414 samples obtained, 61.4% contained pneumococci, and 87% contained H. influenzae. Only 8.3% of the samples were negative for both species. Twenty-one pneumococcal clones and 47 H. influenzae clones were identified. Introduction of clones occurred during all year. Ninety-eight percent and 96% of all pneumococcal and H. influenzae isolates, respectively, belonged to clones shared by more than one child. Children were sequentially colonized with up to six pneumococcal clones (mean, 3.6) and five serotypes and nine H. influenzae clones (mean, 7.1). Clones with increased capacity for transmission and/or prolonged colonization were identified in both species. These two fitness properties appeared to be independent. In conclusion, among DCC attendees, a high rate of acquisition and turnover of strains was observed, and all children were overwhelmingly colonized by clones shared with others. DCCs are units where permanent introduction of new clones occurs, and attendees, as a whole, provide a pool of hosts where the fittest clones find privileged opportunities to persist and expand.
PMCID: PMC2224302  PMID: 18003797
11.  Rates of Acquisition of Pneumococcal Colonization and Transmission Probabilities, by Serotype, Among Newborn Infants in Kilifi District, Kenya 
This study determined the serotype-specific acquisition rates for pneumococcal colonization in a cohort of 1404 newborn infants followed intensively for 3 months. By observing pneumococcal carriage in family members, we were able to determine serotype-specific transmission probabilities between relatives.
Background. Herd protection and serotype replacement disease following introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) are attributable to the vaccine's impact on colonization. Prior to vaccine introduction in Kenya, we did an epidemiological study to estimate the rate of pneumococcal acquisition, by serotype, in an uncolonized population.
Methods. Nasopharyngeal swab specimens were taken from newborns aged ≤7 days and weekly thereafter for 13 weeks. Parents, and siblings aged <10 years, were swabbed at monthly intervals. Swabs were transported in skim milk-tryptone-glucose-glycerin and cultured on gentamicin blood agar. Pneumococci were serotyped by the Quellung reaction. We used survival analysis and Cox regression analysis to examine serotype-specific acquisition rates and risk factors and calculated transmission probabilities from the pattern of acquisitions within the family.
Results. Of 1404 infants recruited, 887 were colonized by 3 months of age, with the earliest acquisition detected on the first day of life. The median time to acquisition was 38.5 days. The pneumococcal acquisition rate was 0.0189 acquisitions/day (95% confidence interval, .0177–.0202 acquisitions/day). Serotype-specific acquisition rates varied from 0.00002–0.0025 acquisitions/day among 49 different serotypes. Season, coryza, and exposure to cigarettes, cooking fumes, and other children in the home were each significant risk factors for acquisition. The transmission probability per 30-day duration of contact with a carrier was 0.23 (95% CI, .20–.26).
Conclusions. Newborn infants in Kilifi have high rates of nasopharyngeal acquisition of pneumococci. Half of these acquisitions involve serotypes not included in any current vaccine. Several risk factors are modifiable through intervention. Newborns represent a consistent population of pneumococcus-naive individuals in which to estimate the impact of PCV on transmission.
PMCID: PMC3381638  PMID: 22523268
12.  Stability of Serotypes during Nasopharyngeal Carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(1):386-392.
Serotype changes among natural isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae are well documented and occur by recombinational exchanges at the capsular biosynthetic locus. However, the frequency with which this phenomenon occurs within the nasopharynx of children is not clear and is likely to be highest in the nasopharynx of children, who have high rates of pneumococcal carriage. A birth cohort of 100 infants was studied, and pneumococci were recovered from nasopharyngeal samples taken at monthly intervals during the first 6 months of life and then at 2-monthly intervals until the age of 2 years. Among the 1,353 nasopharyngeal samples were 523 that contained presumptive pneumococci, and three colonies from each were serotyped. A total of 333 isolates, including all isolates of differing serotypes from the same child, were characterized by multilocus sequence typing. Sixty-eight children carried multiple serotypes during the first 2 years of life. Two children carried a typeable and a nonserotypeable pneumococcus of identical genotype, and five children carried genetically indistinguishable isolates of serotypes 15B and 15C. These isolates were considered, respectively, to be due to loss of capsule expression and the known ability of serotype 15B and 15C pneumococci to interconvert by loss or gain of an acetyl group on the capsular polysaccharide. In all other cases, isolates from the same children that differed in serotype also differed in genotype, indicating the acquisition of a different pneumococcal strain rather than a change in capsular type. There was therefore no evidence in this study for any change of serotype due to recombinational replacements at the capsular locus among the pneumococci carried within the nasopharynges of the children.
PMCID: PMC149619  PMID: 12517877
13.  Social Mixing with Other Children during Infancy Enhances Antibody Response to a Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Early Childhood▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2007;14(5):593-599.
Children who have siblings and/or who attend day care have higher rates of nasopharyngeal colonization with pneumococci than lone children do. Pneumococcal colonization is usually asymptomatic but is a prerequisite for invasive disease. We studied the effect of social mixing with other children on immunity to a pneumococcal vaccine. One hundred sixty children aged 1 year were immunized with a 7-valent conjugate pneumococcal vaccine. A blood sample was obtained before and 9 to 11 days after the vaccine. The concentration and avidity of antibody against vaccine pneumococcal serotypes (4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F) were studied in relation to pneumococcal carriage rate and measures of social mixing. Children with increased social mixing had higher antibody concentrations against serotypes 4, 9V, 14, and 23F than lone children did. The least-carried serotype, serotype 4, was the one of the most immunogenic. This contrasts with serotype 6B, the most common nasopharyngeal isolate but the least immunogenic. Social mixing in infancy enhances the immune response to a Streptococcus pneumoniae polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine at 1 year of age. Exposure to pneumococci in the first year of life may induce immunological priming. An alternative explanation is that differences in immunological experience, such as increased exposure to respiratory viral infections in early childhood, alters the response to vaccines perhaps by affecting the balance between Th1 and Th2 cytokines. The low immunogenicity of serotype 6B polysaccharide might make conditions more favorable for carriage of the 6B organism and explain why 6B pneumococci were more frequently isolated than other serotypes.
PMCID: PMC1865629  PMID: 17344347
14.  Multi-Serotype Pneumococcal Nasopharyngeal Carriage Prevalence in Vaccine Naïve Nepalese Children, Assessed Using Molecular Serotyping 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0114286.
Invasive pneumococcal disease is one of the major causes of death in young children in resource poor countries. Nasopharyngeal carriage studies provide insight into the local prevalence of circulating pneumococcal serotypes. There are very few data on the concurrent carriage of multiple pneumococcal serotypes. This study aimed to identify the prevalence and serotype distribution of pneumococci carried in the nasopharynx of young healthy Nepalese children prior to the introduction of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine using a microarray-based molecular serotyping method capable of detecting multi-serotype carriage. We conducted a cross-sectional study of healthy children aged 6 weeks to 24 months from the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal between May and October 2012. Nasopharyngeal swabs were frozen and subsequently plated on selective culture media. DNA extracts of plate sweeps of pneumococcal colonies from these cultures were analysed using a molecular serotyping microarray capable of detecting relative abundance of multiple pneumococcal serotypes. 600 children were enrolled into the study: 199 aged 6 weeks to <6 months, 202 aged 6 months to < 12 months, and 199 aged 12 month to 24 months. Typeable pneumococci were identified in 297/600 (49·5%) of samples with more than one serotype being found in 67/297 (20·2%) of these samples. The serotypes covered by the thirteen-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine were identified in 44·4% of samples containing typeable pneumococci. Application of a molecular serotyping approach to identification of multiple pneumococcal carriage demonstrates a substantial prevalence of co-colonisation. Continued surveillance utilising this approach following the introduction of routine use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccinates in infants will provide a more accurate understanding of vaccine efficacy against carriage and a better understanding of the dynamics of subsequent serotype and genotype replacement.
PMCID: PMC4313945  PMID: 25643355
15.  Effect of Seven-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine on Staphylococcus aureus Colonisation in a Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20229.
Heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) shifts nasopharyngeal colonisation with vaccine serotype pneumococci towards nonvaccine serotypes. Because of the reported negative association of vaccine serotype pneumococci and Staphylococcus aureus in the nasopharynx, we explored the effect of PCV7 on nasopharyngeal colonisation with S. aureus in children and parents.
Methodology/Principal Findings
This study was part of a randomised controlled trial on the effect of PCV7 on pneumococcal carriage, enrolling healthy newborns who were randomly assigned (1∶1∶1) to receive PCV7 (1) at 2 and 4 months of age (2) at 2, 4 and 11 months or (3) no PCV7 (controls). Nasopharyngeal colonisation of S. aureus was a planned secondary outcome. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from all children over a 2-year period with 6-months interval and from one parent at the child's age of 12 and 24 months and cultured for Streptococcus pneumoniae and S. aureus. Between July 2005 and February 2006, 1005 children were enrolled and received either 2-doses of PCV7 (n = 336), 2+1-doses (336) or no dose (n = 333) before PCV7 implementation in the Dutch national immunization program. S. aureus colonisation had doubled in children in the 2+1-dose group at 12 months of age compared with unvaccinated controls (10.1% versus 5.0%; p = 0.019). A negative association for co-colonisation of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus was observed for both vaccine serotype (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38–0.74) and nonvaccine serotype pneumococci (aOR 0.67, 95% CI 0.52–0.88).
PCV7 induces a temporary increase in S. aureus colonisation in children around 12 months of age after a 2+1-dose PCV7 schedule. The potential clinical consequences are unknown and monitoring is warranted.
Trial Registration NCT00189020
PMCID: PMC3112202  PMID: 21695210
16.  Interleukin-17A Mediates Acquired Immunity to Pneumococcal Colonization 
PLoS Pathogens  2008;4(9):e1000159.
Although anticapsular antibodies confer serotype-specific immunity to pneumococci, children increase their ability to clear colonization before these antibodies appear, suggesting involvement of other mechanisms. We previously reported that intranasal immunization of mice with pneumococci confers CD4+ T cell–dependent, antibody- and serotype-independent protection against colonization. Here we show that this immunity, rather than preventing initiation of carriage, accelerates clearance over several days, accompanied by neutrophilic infiltration of the nasopharyngeal mucosa. Adoptive transfer of immune CD4+ T cells was sufficient to confer immunity to naïve RAG1−/− mice. A critical role of interleukin (IL)-17A was demonstrated: mice lacking interferon-γ or IL-4 were protected, but not mice lacking IL-17A receptor or mice with neutrophil depletion. In vitro expression of IL-17A in response to pneumococci was assayed: lymphoid tissue from vaccinated mice expressed significantly more IL-17A than controls, and IL-17A expression from peripheral blood samples from immunized mice predicted protection in vivo. IL-17A was elicited by pneumococcal stimulation of tonsillar cells of children or adult blood but not cord blood. IL-17A increased pneumococcal killing by human neutrophils both in the absence and in the presence of antibodies and complement. We conclude that IL-17A mediates pneumococcal immunity in mice and probably in humans; its elicitation in vitro could help in the development of candidate pneumococcal vaccines.
Author Summary
The bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) causes serious disease in children and the elderly, including pneumonia and meningitis (inflammation of the brain). Carriage of pneumococcus in the nose is a necessary first step for most infections. As children age, they carry pneumococcus for shorter periods of time and their risk of disease decreases also. The mechanisms underlying this age-related decrease of carriage are not well understood. A deeper understanding of resistance to colonization would enable us to develop better pneumococcal vaccines. Using experimental mouse models, we show that repeated exposure to pneumococci leads to a subsequent reduction in duration of pneumococcal carriage, similar to what is observed in humans. We identify the immune cells that are responsible for this process, so-called TH17 cells, which release a factor that enables human blood cells to kill pneumococcus more efficiently. We show that these TH17 cells exist in adults and children, but not in newborn babies, which suggests that they may arise as a consequence of humans being exposed to pneumococcus. We describe an assay for the measurement of these cells in humans. Such an assay could facilitate the development of novel vaccines directed against pneumococcal carriage.
PMCID: PMC2528945  PMID: 18802458
17.  Macrolide resistance determinants among Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from carriers in Central Greece 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:255.
We sought to characterize the temporal trends in nasopharyngeal carriage of macrolide-resistant pneumococci during a period with increased heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) coverage in Central Greece.
Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were recovered from 2649 nasopharyngeal samples obtained from day-care center attendees in Central Greece during 2005–2009. A phenotypic and genotypic analysis of the isolates was performed, including the identification of macrolide resistance genes mef(A), subclasses mef(A) and mef(E), as well as erm(B).
Of the 1105 typeable S. pneumoniae isolates, 265 (24%) were macrolide-resistant; 22% in 2005, 33.3% in 2006, 23.7% in 2007, and 20.5% in 2009 (P=0.398). Among these macrolide-resistant pneumococci, 28.5% possessed erm(B), 24.3% erm(B)+mef(E), 41.8% mef(E), and 5.3% mef(A). A mef gene as the sole resistance determinant was carried by 31% of macrolide-resistant isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes and 75.8% of the non-PCV7 serotypes. Across the 4 annual surveillances, pneumococci carrying mef(A) gradually disappeared, whereas serotype 19F isolates carrying both erm(B) and mef(E) persisted without significant yearly fluctuations. Among isolates belonging to non-PCV7 serotypes, macrolide-resistance was observed in those of serotypes 6A, 19A, 10A, 15A, 15B/C, 35F, 35A, and 24F. In 2009, ie 5 years after the introduction of PCV7 in our country, 59% of macrolide-resistant pneumococci belonged to non-PCV7 serotypes.
Across the study period, the annual frequency of macrolide-resistant isolates did not change significantly, but in 2009 a marked shift to non-PCV7 serotypes occurred. Overall, more than half of the macrolide-resistant isolates possessed erm(B) either alone or in combination with mef(E). erm(B) dominated among isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes, but not among those of non-PCV7 serotypes.
PMCID: PMC3484024  PMID: 23057516
18.  Nasopharyngeal Carriage Rate and Serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Antimicrobial Susceptibility in Healthy Korean Children Younger than 5 Years Old: Focus on Influence of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination 
Infection & Chemotherapy  2013;45(1):76-84.
Even after pneumococcal vaccination introduction, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumoccocus) is still an important cause of respiratory and invasive severe infection. Pneumococcus is resided in nasal mucosa and local or systemic infection begins with the nasal mucosa damage. We studied the indirect effect of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) on pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage rates, serotypes and antimicrobial susceptibility between vaccinate and non-vaccinated children.
Materials and Methods
From January 2010 to October 2010, 379 healthy children under 5 years old from three university hospitals were recruited. Fully vaccinated children over 3 time doses of PCV and children with no vaccination history of PCV were enrolled, and nasopharyngeal aspirations were obtained from these children. Serotypes using multibead serotyping assay with multiplex PCR and antimicrobial susceptibility was analyzed. Antimicrobial susceptibilities were determined by the CLIS guideline.
Two hundred seventy six children were received pneumococcal vaccination while 103 were not. 137 pneumococci were isolated from nasopharyngeal aspiration specimens. Nasal carriage rate was significantly low in vaccinated group (P-value; 0.001). Nasopharyngeal carriage rate was 28.6% (79/276) in vaccinate group and 56.3% (58/103) in non-vaccinated group. Among those vaccinated group, 13.0% (36/276) of the serotypes were vaccine or vaccine related type with the most common type 19F. In contrast, 31.1% (32/103) of the serotypes in non vaccinated group were vaccine or vaccine related type with the most common type 6A. The resistant rate of penicillin was 90.5%. For antimicrobial susceptibility, amoxicillin and amoxicillin/clavulanate showed high susceptibility (73.0%), but 19F and 19A serotypes were all resistant against amoxicillin.
High nasopharyngeal carriage rate in non vaccinated group corresponded to the result of past study. However, 19F and 19A still came up as problematic serotypes with a high carriage rate and antimicrobial resistance in both vaccinated and non vaccinated groups. Also, this study showed that the resistance rate of primary oral antimicrobial agents was increased in compared to past. For solving these problems, the selective antimicrobial use with establishment of high dose amoxicillin/clavulanate regimen and active PCV immunization should be needed. Furthermore, pneumococcal carriage and serotype study concerning with antimicrobial susceptibility should be conducted in the future in 10 or 13-valent PCV received children.
PMCID: PMC3780942  PMID: 24265953
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Serotype; Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; Oral antimicrobial; Antimicrobial resistance
19.  Nasopharyngeal carriage, antibiogram & serotype distribution of Streptococcus pneumoniae among healthy under five children 
Background & objectives:
Information related to nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae among healthy children is scanty in India. This prospective study was undertaken to determine the presence of asymptomatic nasopharyngeal colonization, assess serogroups/types (SGT) and drug resistance of S. pneumoniae in children below five years of age.
A total of 109 male and 81 female children in the age group of three months to five years belonging to different socio-economic classes were enrolled. They were recruited across all age groups from those attending paediatric OPD of a tertiary care and research centre for immunization program. Fifty three isolates identified as pneumococci were tested for their antimicrobial susceptibility pattern by Kirby-Bauer's disc diffusion and E-Test methods. Serotyping was performed by detection of the quelling reaction with specific antiserum.
The pneumococcal carriage rate in the study population was 27.9 per cent. The isolation rate was associated with age being higher (49.2%) in smaller children (3-12 months) and among male (62.2%). The most prevalent SGTs were 19 followed by 10, 14 and 7; 21 per cent of isolates belonging to serotype 10 (n=7) were 11 (n=4) were not covered in any of the conjugate vaccines currently available in Indian market. Resistance to co-trimoxazole, tetracycline, penicillin and erythromycin was observed in 91 per cent (n=48), 36 per cent (n=19), 17 per cent (n=9) and 9 per cent (n=5) isolates, respectively. All the penicillin resistant isolates were found to be intermediately resistant by E-Test. Multidrug resistance was observed in 19 per cent (n=10) isolates.
Interpretation & conclusions:
High level of antibiotic resistance was present in S. pneumoniae isolated from healthy children below age five. A pneumococcal conjugate vaccine with the prevailing SGTs would help to reduce the pool of antibiotic resistant pneumococci. Continued surveillance of serotypes and tracking susceptibility pattern of S. pneumoniae will help to introduce appropriate vaccination protocols.
PMCID: PMC4216494  PMID: 25297353
Antibiotic resistance; nasopharyngeal carriage; serotypes; Streptococcus pneumoniae
20.  Multiple Colonization with S. pneumoniae before and after Introduction of the Seven-Valent Conjugated Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11638.
Simultaneous carriage of more than one strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae promotes horizontal gene transfer events and may lead to capsule switch and acquisition of antibiotic resistance. We studied the epidemiology of cocolonization with S. pneumoniae before and after introduction of the seven-valent conjugated pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7).
Nasopharyngeal swabs (n 1120) were collected from outpatients between 2004 and 2009 within an ongoing nationwide surveillance program. Cocolonization was detected directly from swabs by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. Serotypes were identified by agglutination, multiplex PCR and microarray.
Principal Findings
Rate of multiple colonization remained stable up to three years after PCV7 introduction. Cocolonization was associated with serotypes of low carriage prevalence in the prevaccine era. Pneumococcal colonization density was higher in cocolonized samples and cocolonizing strains were present in a balanced ratio (median 1.38). Other characteristics of cocolonization were a higher frequency at young age, but no association with recurrent acute otitis media, recent antibiotic exposure, day care usage and PCV7 vaccination status.
Pneumococcal cocolonization is dominated by serotypes of low carriage prevalence in the prevaccine era, which coexist in the nasopharynx. Emergence of such previously rare serotypes under vaccine selection pressure may promote cocolonization in the future.
PMCID: PMC2905437  PMID: 20661289
21.  Carriage of Streptoccoccus pneumoniae in healthy adults aged 60 years or over in a population with very high and long-lasting pneumococcal conjugate vaccine coverage in children 
A serial cross-sectional study of nasopharyngeal carriage among adults aged 60 y or over was conducted in winter-spring 2012 with the aim to describe circulating Streptococcus pneumoniae in an area, Liguria Administrative Region, where the vaccine was implemented for a decade and coverage in pediatric age group reached a value close to 100% for more than 5 y, determining a picture of very high vaccine immunological pressure. The serotype-specific carriage picture in adults was compared with that observed in children by means of a cross-sectional study performed one year before using the same sampling and laboratory methods.
Cluster sampling enrolled 283 adults, representative of the open population. Detection of multi-serotype carriage was performed using, real-time PCR and primer specific PCRs.
Carriage prevalence of participants with at least one positive sample adjusted for age, i.e., period prevalence, was 18.7%, considering the Ligurian population as standard population, showing that the pneumococcal carriage in the elderly is not a rare event as emerged in other surveys. The long-term use of PCV7 has resulted in strong decrease of vaccine types carriage among adults and children. A multivariate analysis showed that age class and contact with children attending day care covariates were strongly associated with Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage.
A strong link between the picture observed in < 5-y-old children and ≥ 60-y-old adults emerged: a strong correlation of specific-serotype prevalence between adults and children and risk factor analysis supported the role played by inter-age-group transmission.
PMCID: PMC3891719  PMID: 23292052
vaccine prevention; conjugate vaccine; S. pneumoniae; carriage; replacement
22.  A Longitudinal Study of Streptococcus pneumoniae Carriage in a Cohort of Infants and Their Mothers on the Thailand-Myanmar Border 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38271.
Pneumococcal disease is a major cause of childhood death. Almost a third of the world's children live in Southeast Asia, but there are few data from the region on pneumococcal colonization or disease. Our aim was to document the dynamics of pneumococcal carriage in a rural SE Asian birth cohort.
We studied 234 Karen mother-infant pairs in Northwestern Thailand. Infants were followed from birth and nasopharyngeal swabs were taken from mother and infant at monthly intervals until 24 months old.
8,386 swabs were cultured and 4,396 pneumococci characterized. Infants became colonized early (median 45.5 days; 95% confidence interval [CI] 44.5-46.0) and by 24 months had a median of seven (range 0–15) carriage episodes. Maternal smoking and young children in the house were associated with earlier colonization (hazard ratio [HR] 1.5 (95% CI 1.1–2.1) and 1.4 (95% CI 1.0–1.9)). For the four commonest serotypes and non-typeable pneumococci, previous exposure to homologous or heterologous serotypes resulted in an extended interval to reacquisition of the same serotype. Previous colonization by serotypes 14 and 19F was also associated with reduced carriage duration if subsequently reacquired (HR [first reacquisition] 4.1 (95% CI 1.4–12.6) and 2.6 (1.5–4.7)). Mothers acquired pneumococci less frequently, and carried them for shorter periods, than infants (acquisition rate 0.5 vs. 1.1 /100 person-days, p<0.001; median duration 31.0 vs. 60.5 days, p = 0.001). 55.8% of pneumococci from infants were vaccine serotypes (13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV13), compared with 27.5% from mothers (p<0.001). Non-typeable pneumococcal carriage was common, being carried at least once by 55.1% of infants and 32.0% of mothers.
Pneumococcal carriage frequency and duration are influenced by previous exposure to both homologous and heterologous serotypes. These data will inform vaccination strategies in this population.
PMCID: PMC3365031  PMID: 22693610
23.  The dynamics of nasopharyngeal streptococcus pneumoniae carriage among rural Gambian mother-infant pairs 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:195.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of community acquired pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis and otitis media globally and has been incriminated as a major cause of serious childhood bacterial infections in The Gambia. Better understanding of the dynamics of transmission and carriage will inform control strategies.
This study was conducted among 196 mother-infant pairs recruited at birth from six villages in the West Kiang region of The Gambia. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from mother-infant pairs at birth (within 12 hours of delivery), 2, 5 and 12 months. Standard techniques of culture were used to identify carriage and serotype S. pneumoniae.
Of 46 serotypes identified, the 6 most common, 6A, 6B, 14, 15, 19F and 23F, accounted for 67.3% of the isolates from infants. Carriage of any serotype among infants rose from 1.5% at birth to plateau at approximately 80% by 2 m (prevalence at 2 m = 77%; 5 m = 86%; 12 m = 78%). Likewise, maternal carriage almost doubled in the first 2 months post-partum and remained elevated for the next 10 m (prevalence at birth = 13%; 2 m = 24%; 5 m = 22%; 12 m = 21%). Carriage was significantly seasonal in both infants and mothers with a peak in December and lowest transmission in August. The total number of different serotypes we isolated from each infant varied and less than would be expected had the serotypes assorted independently. In contrast, this variability was much as expected among mothers. The half-life of a serotype colony was estimated to be 1.90 m (CI95%: 1.66-2.21) in infants and 0.75 m (CI95%: 0.55-1.19) in mothers. While the odds for a serotype to be isolated from an infant increased by 9-fold if it had also been isolated from the mother, the population attributable fraction (PAF) of pneumococcal carriage in infants due to maternal carriage was only 9.5%. Some marked differences in dynamics were observed between vaccine and non-vaccine serotypes.
Colonisation of the nasopharynx in Gambian infants by S. pneumoniae is rapid and highly dynamic. Immunity or inter-serotype competition may play a role in the dynamics. Reducing mother-infant transmission would have a minimal effect on infant carriage.
PMCID: PMC2910019  PMID: 20602782
24.  Estimating rates of carriage acquisition and clearance and competitive ability for pneumococcal serotypes in Kenya with a Markov transition model 
Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)  2012;23(4):510-519.
There are more than 90 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae, with varying biologic and epidemiologic properties. Animal studies suggest that carriage induces an acquired immune response that reduces duration of colonization in a non-serotype-specific fashion.
We studied pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage longitudinally in Kenyan children aged 3-59 months, following up positive swabs at days 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32, and then monthly thereafter until two swabs were negative for the original serotype. As previously reported, 1868/2840 (66%) of children swabbed at baseline were positive. We estimated acquisition, clearance and competition parameters for 27 serotypes using a Markov transition model .
Point estimates of type-specific acquisition rates ranged from 0.00025/day (type 1) to 0.0031/day (type 19F). Point estimates of time to clearance (inverse of type-specific immune clearance rate) ranged from 28 days (type 20) to 124 days (type 6A). For the serotype most resistant to competition (type 19F), acquisition of other serotypes was 52% less likely (95% confidence interval= 37%-63%) than in an uncolonized host. Fitness components (carriage duration, acquisition rate, lack of susceptibility to competition) were positively correlated with each other and with baseline prevalence, and were associated with biologic properties previously shown to associate with serotype. Duration of carriage declined with age for most serotypes.
Common S. pneumoniae serotypes appear superior in many dimensions of fitness. Differences in rate of immune clearance are attenuated as children age and become capable of more rapid clearance of the longest-lived serotypes. These findings provide information for comparison after introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3670084  PMID: 22441543
25.  Field Evaluation of Culture plus Latex Sweep Serotyping for Detection of Multiple Pneumococcal Serotype Colonisation in Infants and Young Children 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67933.
Nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) culture by World Health Organisation (WHO) methodology underestimates multiple pneumococcal serotype colonisation compared to a simple culture and latex sweep method. The impacts of this on descriptions of pneumococcal serotype distributions and colonisation dynamics in infancy are not clear.
8,736 NPS collected from infants enrolled into a longitudinal study were processed to evaluate the field utility of the latex sweep method. 1,107 had previously been cultured by WHO methodology. Additionally, colonisation results were compared in 100 matched pairs of infants, where swabs from an individual were cultured either by WHO or latex sweep method.
In 1,107 swabs cultured by both methods, the latex sweep method was three times more likely to detect colonisation with multiple pneumococcal serotypes than the WHO method (p<0.001). At least one common serotype was identified in 91.2% of swabs from which typeable pneumococci were detected by both methods. Agreement improved with increasing colonisation density (p = 0.03). Estimates of age at first pneumococcal acquisition and colonisation duration were not affected by culture/serotyping method. However, a greater number of serotype carriage episodes were detected in infants cultured by latex sweep (p = 0.03). The overall rate of non-vaccine type pneumococcal acquisition was also greater in infants cultured by latex sweep (p = 0.04).
Latex sweep serotyping was feasible to perform on a large specimen collection. Multiple serotype colonisation detection was significantly improved compared with WHO methodology. However, use of the latex sweep method is unlikely to significantly alter colonisation study serotype distribution or colonisation dynamics results.
PMCID: PMC3699458  PMID: 23844133

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