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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.  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
3.  Serotype-Specific Changes in Invasive Pneumococcal Disease after Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Introduction: A Pooled Analysis of Multiple Surveillance Sites 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001517.
In a pooled analysis of data collected from invasive pneumococcal disease surveillance databases, Daniel Feikin and colleagues examine serotype replacement after the introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) into national immunization programs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Vaccine-serotype (VT) invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) rates declined substantially following introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) into national immunization programs. Increases in non-vaccine-serotype (NVT) IPD rates occurred in some sites, presumably representing serotype replacement. We used a standardized approach to describe serotype-specific IPD changes among multiple sites after PCV7 introduction.
Methods and Findings
Of 32 IPD surveillance datasets received, we identified 21 eligible databases with rate data ≥2 years before and ≥1 year after PCV7 introduction. Expected annual rates of IPD absent PCV7 introduction were estimated by extrapolation using either Poisson regression modeling of pre-PCV7 rates or averaging pre-PCV7 rates. To estimate whether changes in rates had occurred following PCV7 introduction, we calculated site specific rate ratios by dividing observed by expected IPD rates for each post-PCV7 year. We calculated summary rate ratios (RRs) using random effects meta-analysis. For children <5 years old, overall IPD decreased by year 1 post-PCV7 (RR 0·55, 95% CI 0·46–0·65) and remained relatively stable through year 7 (RR 0·49, 95% CI 0·35–0·68). Point estimates for VT IPD decreased annually through year 7 (RR 0·03, 95% CI 0·01–0·10), while NVT IPD increased (year 7 RR 2·81, 95% CI 2·12–3·71). Among adults, decreases in overall IPD also occurred but were smaller and more variable by site than among children. At year 7 after introduction, significant reductions were observed (18–49 year-olds [RR 0·52, 95% CI 0·29–0·91], 50–64 year-olds [RR 0·84, 95% CI 0·77–0·93], and ≥65 year-olds [RR 0·74, 95% CI 0·58–0·95]).
Consistent and significant decreases in both overall and VT IPD in children occurred quickly and were sustained for 7 years after PCV7 introduction, supporting use of PCVs. Increases in NVT IPD occurred in most sites, with variable magnitude. These findings may not represent the experience in low-income countries or the effects after introduction of higher valency PCVs. High-quality, population-based surveillance of serotype-specific IPD rates is needed to monitor vaccine impact as more countries, including low-income countries, introduce PCVs and as higher valency PCVs are used.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Pneumococcal disease–a major cause of illness and death in children and adults worldwide–is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that often colonizes the nose and throat harmlessly. Unfortunately, S. pneumoniae occasionally spreads into the lungs, bloodstream, or covering of the brain, where it causes pneumonia, septicemia, and meningitis, respectively. These invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPDs) can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics but can be fatal. Consequently, it is better to avoid infection through vaccination. 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 that it recognizes as foreign (antigens). Because there are more than 90 S. pneumoniae variants or “serotypes,” each characterized by a different antigenic polysaccharide (complex sugar) coat, vaccines that protect against S. pneumoniae have to include multiple serotypes. Thus, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine PCV7, which was introduced into the US infant immunization regimen in 2000, contains polysaccharides from the seven S. pneumoniae serotypes mainly responsible for IPD in the US at that time.
Why Was This Study Done?
Vaccination with PCV7 was subsequently introduced in several other high- and middle-income countries, and IPD caused by the serotypes included in the vaccine declined substantially in children and in adults (because of reduced bacterial transmission and herd protection) in the US and virtually all these countries. However, increases in IPD caused by non-vaccine serotypes occurred in some settings, presumably because of “serotype replacement.” PCV7 prevents both IPD caused by the serotypes it contains and carriage of these serotypes. Consequently, after vaccination, previously less common, non-vaccine serotypes can colonize the nose and throat, some of which can cause IPD. In July 2010, a World Health Organization expert consultation on serotype replacement called for a comprehensive analysis of the magnitude and variability of pneumococcal serotype replacement following PCV7 use to help guide the introduction of PCVs in low-income countries, where most pneumococcal deaths occur. In this pooled analysis of data from multiple surveillance sites, the researchers investigate serotype-specific changes in IPD after PCV7 introduction using a standardized approach.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 21 databases that had data about the rate of IPD for at least 2 years before and 1 year after PCV7 introduction. They estimated whether changes in IPD rates had occurred after PCV7 introduction by calculating site-specific rate ratios–the observed IPD rate for each post-PCV7 year divided by the expected IPD rate in the absence of PCV7 extrapolated from the pre-PCV7 rate. Finally, they used a statistical approach (random effects meta-analysis) to estimate summary (pooled) rate ratios. For children under 5 years old, the overall number of observed cases of IPD in the first year after the introduction of PCV7 was about half the expected number; this reduction in IPD continued through year 7 after PCV7 introduction. Notably, the rate of IPD caused by the S. pneumonia serotypes in PCV7 decreased every year, but the rate of IPD caused by non-vaccine serotypes increased annually. By year 7, the number of cases of IPD caused by non-vaccine serotypes was 3-fold higher than expected, but was still smaller than the decrease in vaccine serotypes, thereby leading to the decrease in overall IPD. Finally, smaller decreases in overall IPD also occurred among adults but occurred later than in children 2 years or more after PCV7 introduction.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that consistent, rapid, and sustained decreases in overall IPD and in IPD caused by serotypes included in PCV7 occurred in children and thus support the use of PCVs. The small increases in IPD caused by non-vaccine serotypes that these findings reveal are likely to be the result of serotype replacement, but changes in antibiotic use and other factors may also be involved. These findings have several important limitations, however. For example, PCV7 is no longer made and extrapolation of these results to newer PCV10 and PCV13 formulations should be done cautiously. On the other hand, many of the serotypes causing serotype replacement after PCV7 are included in these higher valency vaccines. Moreover, because the data analyzed in this study mainly came from high-income countries, these findings may not be generalizable to low-income countries. Nevertheless, based on their analysis, the researchers make recommendations for the collection and analysis of IPD surveillance data that should allow valid interpretations of the effect of PCVs on IPD to be made, an important requisite for making sound policy decisions about vaccination against pneumococcal disease.
Additional Information
Please access these websites 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, including personal stories
Public Health England provides information on pneumococcal disease and on pneumococcal vaccines
The World Health Organization also provides information on pneumococcal vaccines
The not-for-profit Immunization Action Coalition has information on pneumococcal disease, including personal stories
MedlinePlus has links to further information about pneumococcal infections (in English and Spanish)
The International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has more information on introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in low-income countries
PMCID: PMC3782411  PMID: 24086113
4.  High Nasopharyngeal Carriage of Non-Vaccine Serotypes in Western Australian Aboriginal People Following 10 Years of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82280.
Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) continues to occur at high rates among Australian Aboriginal people. The seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7vPCV) was given in a 2-4-6-month schedule from 2001, with a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) booster at 18 months, and replaced with 13vPCV in July 2011. Since carriage surveillance can supplement IPD surveillance, we have monitored pneumococcal carriage in western Australia (WA) since 2008 to assess the impact of the 10-year 7vPCV program.
We collected 1,500 nasopharyngeal specimens from Aboriginal people living in varied regions of WA from August 2008 until June 2011. Specimens were cultured on selective media. Pneumococcal isolates were serotyped by the quellung reaction.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis were carried by 71.9%, 63.2% and 63.3% respectively of children <5 years of age, and 34.6%, 22.4% and 27.2% of people ≥5 years. Of 43 pneumococcal serotypes identified, the most common were 19A, 16F and 6C in children <5 years, and 15B, 34 and 22F in older people. 7vPCV serotypes accounted for 14.5% of all serotypeable isolates, 13vPCV for 32.4% and 23vPPV for 49.9%, with little variation across all age groups. Serotypes 1 and 12F were rarely identified, despite causing recent IPD outbreaks in WA. Complete penicillin resistance (MIC ≥2µg/ml) was found in 1.6% of serotype 19A (5.2%), 19F (4.9%) and 16F (3.2%) isolates and reduced penicillin susceptibility (MIC ≥0.125µg/ml) in 24.9% of isolates, particularly 19F (92.7%), 19A (41.3%), 16F (29.0%). Multi-resistance to cotrimoxazole, tetracycline and erythromycin was found in 83.0% of 23F isolates. Among non-serotypeable isolates 76.0% had reduced susceptibility and 4.0% showed complete resistance to penicillin.
Ten years after introduction of 7vPCV for Aboriginal Australian children, 7vPCV serotypes account for a small proportion of carried pneumococci. A large proportion of circulating serotypes are not covered by any currently licensed vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3857785  PMID: 24349245
5.  Prevention of pneumococcal diseases in the post-seven valent vaccine era: A European perspective 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:207.
The burden of invasive pneumococcal disease in young children decreased dramatically following introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). The epidemiology of S. pneumoniae now reflects infections caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. Recently introduced higher valency pneumococcal vaccines target the residual burden of invasive and non-invasive infections, including those caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. This review is based on presentations made at the European Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in June 2011.
Surveillance data show increased circulation of the non-PCV7 vaccine serotypes 1, 3, 6A, 6C, 7 F and 19A in countries with routine vaccination. Preliminary evidence suggests that broadened serotype coverage offered by higher valency vaccines may be having an effect on invasive disease caused by some of those serotypes, including 19A, 7 F and 6C. Aetiology of community acquired pneumonia remains a difficult clinical diagnosis. However, recent reports indicate that pneumococcal vaccination has reduced hospitalisations of children for vaccine serotype pneumonia. Variations in serotype circulation and occurrence of complicated and non-complicated pneumonia caused by non-PCV7 serotypes highlight the potential of higher valency vaccines to decrease the remaining burden. PCVs reduce nasopharyngeal carriage and acute otitis media (AOM) caused by vaccine serotypes. Recent investigations of the interaction between S. pneumoniae and non-typeable H. influenzae suggest that considerable reduction in severe, complicated AOM infections may be achieved by prevention of early pneumococcal carriage and AOM infections. Extension of the vaccine serotype spectrum beyond PCV7 may provide additional benefit in preventing the evolution of AOM. The direct and indirect costs associated with pneumococcal disease are high, thus herd protection and infections caused by non-vaccine serotypes both have strong effects on the cost effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccination. Recent evaluations highlight the public health significance of indirect benefits, prevention of pneumonia and AOM and coverage of non-PCV7 serotypes by higher valency vaccines.
Routine vaccination has greatly reduced the burden of pneumococcal diseases in children. The pneumococcal serotypes present in the 7-valent vaccine have greatly diminished among disease isolates. The prevalence of some non-vaccine serotypes (e.g. 1, 7 F and 19A) has increased. Pneumococcal vaccines with broadened serotype coverage are likely to continue decreasing the burden of invasive disease, and community acquired pneumonia in children. Further reductions in pneumococcal carriage and increased prevention of early AOM infections may prevent the evolution of severe, complicated AOM. Evaluation of the public health benefits of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines should include consideration of non-invasive pneumococcal infections, indirect effects of vaccination and broadened serotype coverage.
PMCID: PMC3462147  PMID: 22954038
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; Invasive pneumococcal disease; Community-acquired pneumonia; Acute otitis media; Vaccine serotype coverage; Epidemiology-incidence
6.  Emerging pneumococcal carriage serotypes in a high-risk population receiving universal 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine since 2001 
In Australia in June 2001, a unique pneumococcal vaccine schedule commenced for Indigenous infants; seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7PCV) given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23PPV) at 18 months of age. This study presents carriage serotypes following this schedule.
We conducted cross sectional surveys of pneumococcal carriage in Aboriginal children 0 to 6 years of age living in remote Aboriginal communities (RACs) in 2003 and 2005. Nasal secretions were collected and processed according to published methods.
902 children (mean age 25 months) living in 29 communities in 2003 and 818 children (mean age 35 months) in 17 communities in 2005 were enrolled. 87% children in 2003 and 96% in 2005 had received two or more doses of 7PCV. From 2003 to 2005, pneumococcal carriage was reduced from 82% to 76% and reductions were apparent in all age groups; 7PCV-type carriage was reduced from 11% to 8%, and 23PPV-non-7PCV-type carriage from 31% to 25% respectively. Thus non-23PPV-type carriage increased from 57% to 67%. All these changes were statistically significant, as were changes for some specific serotypes. Shifts could not be attributed to vaccination alone. The top 10 of 40 serotypes identified were (in descending order) 16F, 19A, 11A, 6C, 23B, 19F, 6A, 35B, 6B, 10A and 35B. Carriage of penicillin non-susceptible (MIC > = 0.12 μg/mL) strains (15% overall) was detected in serotypes (descending order) 19A, 19F, 6B, 16F, 11A, 9V, 23B, and in 4 additional serotypes. Carriage of azithromycin resistant (MIC > = 2 μg/mL) strains (5% overall), was detected in serotypes (descending order) 23B, 17F, 9N, 6B, 6A, 11A, 23F, and in 10 additional serotypes including 6C.
Pneumococcal carriage remains high (~80%) in this vaccinated population. Uptake of both pneumococcal vaccines increased, and carriage was reduced between 2003 and 2005. Predominant serotypes in combined years were 16F, 19A, 11A, 6C and 23B. Antimicrobial non-susceptibility was detected in these and 17 additional serotypes. Shifts in serotype-specific carriage suggest a need more research to clarify the association between pneumococcal vaccination and carriage at the serotype level.
PMCID: PMC2736967  PMID: 19650933
7.  Effect of Age and Vaccination With a Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine on the Density of Pneumococcal Nasopharyngeal Carriage 
This study evaluated the impact of age and pneumococcal vaccination on the density of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage. Among colonized individuals, density decreased with increasing age. Time-trends analysis revealed that pneumococcal vaccination appeared to lower the density of nasopharyngeal carriage.
Background. This study evaluated the impact of age and pneumococcal vaccination on the density of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage.
Methods. A cluster-randomized trial was conducted in rural Gambia. In 11 villages (the vaccine group), all residents received 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7), while in another 10 villages (the control group), only children <30 months old or born during the study period received PCV-7. Cross-sectional surveys (CSSs) were conducted to collect nasopharyngeal swabs before vaccination (baseline CSS) and 4, 12, and 22 months after vaccination. Pneumococcal density was defined using a semiquantitative classification (range, 1–4) among colonized individuals. An age-trend analysis of density was conducted using data from the baseline CSS. Mean pneumococcal density was compared in CSSs conducted before and after vaccination.
Results. Mean bacterial density among colonized individuals in the baseline CSS was 2.57 for vaccine-type (VT) and non–vaccine-type (NVT) pneumococci; it decreased with age (P < .001 for VT and NVT). There was a decrease in the density of VT carriage following vaccination in individuals older than 5 years (from 2.44 to 1.88; P = .001) and in younger individuals (from 2.57 to 2.11; P = .070) in the vaccinated villages. Similar decreases in density were observed with NVT within vaccinated and control villages. No significant differences were found between vaccinated and control villages in the postvaccination comparisons for either VT or NVT.
Conclusions. A high density of carriage among young subjects might partly explain why children are more efficient than adults in pneumococcal transmission. PCV-7 vaccination lowered the density of VT and of NVT pneumococcal carriage in the before-after vaccination analysis.
Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN51695599.
PMCID: PMC3423933  PMID: 22700830
8.  Nasopharyngeal flora in children with acute otitis media before and after implementation of 7 valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in France 
Several studies have investigated the impact of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) on pneumococcal (Sp) and staphylococcal (Sa) nasopharyngeal (NP) carriage. Few have investigated the impact on Haemophilus influenzae (Hi) and Moraxella catarrhalis (Mc) carriage. We aimed to compare the NP carriage rates in young children with acute otitis media (AOM) before and after PCV7 implementation in France.
Prior to PCV7 implementation, we performed 4 successive randomized trials with NP samples. These studies compared several antibiotic regimens for treating AOM in young children (6 to 30 months). After PCV7 implementation, to assess the impact of the vaccination program on NP flora, young children with AOM were enrolled in a prospective surveillance study. In each study, we obtained an NP sample to analyze the carriage rates of Sp, Hi, Mc and Sa and the factors influencing the carriage. Standardized history and physical examination findings were recorded; the methods used for NP swabs (sampling and cultures) were the same in all studies.
We enrolled 4,405 children (mean age 13.9 months, median 12.8). Among the 2,598 children enrolled after PCV7 implementation, 98.3% were vaccinated with PCV7. In comparing the pre- and post-PCV7 periods, we found a slight but non-significant decrease in carriage rates of pneumococcus (AOR = 0.85 [0.69;1.05]), H. influenzae (AOR = 0.89 [0.73;1.09]) and S. aureus (AOR = 0.92 [0.70;1.19]). By contrast, the carriage rate of M. catarrhalis increased slightly but not significantly between the 2 periods (AOR = 1.08 [0.95;1.2]). Among Sp carriers, the proportion of PCV7 vaccine types decreased from 66.6% to 10.7% (P < 0.001), penicillin intermediate-resistant strains increased from 30.3% to 43.4% (P < 0.001), and penicillin-resistant strains decreased greatly from 22.8% to 3.8% (P < 0.001). The proportion of Hi ß-lactamase-producing strains decreased from 38.6% to 17.1% (P < 0.001).
The carriage rates of otopathogen species (Sp, Hi, Mc) and Sa did not significantly change in children with AOM after PCV7 implementation in France. However, we observed significant changes in carriage rates of PCV7 vaccine serotypes and penicillin non-susceptible Sp.
PMCID: PMC3323894  PMID: 22397629
9.  Carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Other Respiratory Bacterial Pathogens in Low and Lower-Middle Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103293.
Infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially in low income countries where pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) are still underused. In countries where PCVs have been introduced, much of their efficacy has resulted from their impact on nasopharyngeal carriage in vaccinated children. Understanding the epidemiology of carriage for S. pneumoniae and other common respiratory bacteria in developing countries is crucial for implementing appropriate vaccination strategies and evaluating their impact.
Methods and Findings
We have systematically reviewed published studies reporting nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal carriage of S. pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Neisseria meningitidis in children and adults in low and lower-middle income countries. Studies reporting pneumococcal carriage for healthy children <5 years of age were selected for a meta-analysis. The prevalences of carriage for S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, and M. catarrhalis were generally higher in low income than in lower-middle income countries and were higher in young children than in adults. The prevalence of S. aureus was high in neonates. Meta-analysis of data from young children before the introduction of PCVs showed a pooled prevalence estimate of 64.8% (95% confidence interval, 49.8%–76.1%) in low income countries and 47.8% (95% confidence interval, 44.7%–50.8%) in lower-middle income countries. The most frequent serotypes were 6A, 6B, 19A, 19F, and 23F.
In low and lower-middle income countries, pneumococcal carriage is frequent, especially in children, and the spectrum of serotypes is wide. However, because data are limited, additional studies are needed to adequately assess the impact of PCV introduction on carriage of respiratory bacteria in these countries.
PMCID: PMC4118866  PMID: 25084351
10.  Pneumococcal Carriage and Antibiotic Resistance in Young Children before 13-Valent Conjugate Vaccine 
We sought to measure trends in Streptococcus pneumoniae (SP) carriage and antibiotic resistance in young children in Massachusetts communities after widespread adoption of heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and before the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13).
We conducted a cross-sectional study including collection of questionnaire data and nasopharyngeal specimens among children <7 years in primary care practices from 8 Massachusetts communities during the winter season of 2008–9 and compared with to similar studies performed in 2001, 2003–4, and 2006–7. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing and serotyping were performed on pneumococcal isolates, and risk factors for colonization in recent seasons (2006–07 and 2008–09) were evaluated.
We collected nasopharyngeal specimens from 1,011 children, 290 (29%) of whom were colonized with pneumococcus. Non-PCV7 serotypes accounted for 98% of pneumococcal isolates, most commonly 19A (14%), 6C (11%), and 15B/C (11%). In 2008–09, newly-targeted PCV13 serotypes accounted for 20% of carriage isolates and 41% of penicillin non-susceptible S. pneumoniae (PNSP). In multivariate models, younger age, child care, young siblings, and upper respiratory illness remained predictors of pneumococcal carriage, despite near-complete serotype replacement. Only young age and child care were significantly associated with PNSP carriage.
Serotype replacement post-PCV7 is essentially complete and has been sustained in young children, with the relatively virulent 19A being the most common serotype. Predictors of carriage remained similar despite serotype replacement. PCV13 may reduce 19A and decrease antibiotic-resistant strains, but monitoring for new serotype replacement is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3288953  PMID: 22173142
Streptococcus pneumoniae; pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; antibiotic resistance; serotype; colonization
11.  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
12.  Association between Respiratory Syncytial Virus Activity and Pneumococcal Disease in Infants: A Time Series Analysis of US Hospitalization Data 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(1):e1001776.
Daniel Weinberger and colleagues examine a possible interaction between two serious respiratory infections in children under 2 years of age.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
The importance of bacterial infections following respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains unclear. We evaluated whether variations in RSV epidemic timing and magnitude are associated with variations in pneumococcal disease epidemics and whether changes in pneumococcal disease following the introduction of seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) were associated with changes in the rate of hospitalizations coded as RSV.
Methods and Findings
We used data from the State Inpatient Databases (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), including >700,000 RSV hospitalizations and >16,000 pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizations in 36 states (1992/1993–2008/2009). Harmonic regression was used to estimate the timing of the average seasonal peak of RSV, pneumococcal pneumonia, and pneumococcal septicemia. We then estimated the association between the incidence of pneumococcal disease in children and the activity of RSV and influenza (where there is a well-established association) using Poisson regression models that controlled for shared seasonal variations. Finally, we estimated changes in the rate of hospitalizations coded as RSV following the introduction of PCV7. RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia shared a distinctive spatiotemporal pattern (correlation of peak timing: ρ = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.45, 0.84). RSV was associated with a significant increase in the incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia in children aged <1 y (attributable percent [AP]: 20.3%, 95% CI: 17.4%, 25.1%) and among children aged 1–2 y (AP: 10.1%, 95% CI: 7.6%, 13.9%). Influenza was also associated with an increase in pneumococcal pneumonia among children aged 1–2 y (AP: 3.2%, 95% CI: 1.7%, 4.7%). Finally, we observed a significant decline in RSV-coded hospitalizations in children aged <1 y following PCV7 introduction (−18.0%, 95% CI: −22.6%, −13.1%, for 2004/2005–2008/2009 versus 1997/1998–1999/2000). This study used aggregated hospitalization data, and studies with individual-level, laboratory-confirmed data could help to confirm these findings.
These analyses provide evidence for an interaction between RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia. Future work should evaluate whether treatment for secondary bacterial infections could be considered for pneumonia cases even if a child tests positive for RSV.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Respiratory infections—bacterial and viral infections of the lungs and the airways (the tubes that take oxygen-rich air to the lungs)—are major causes of illness and death in children worldwide. Pneumonia (infection of the lungs) alone is responsible for about 15% of all child deaths. The leading cause of bacterial pneumonia in children is Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is transmitted through contact with infected respiratory secretions. S. pneumoniae usually causes noninvasive diseases such as bronchitis, but sometimes the bacteria invade the lungs, the bloodstream, or the covering of the brain, where they cause pneumonia, septicemia, or meningitis, respectively. These potentially fatal invasive pneumococcal diseases can be treated with antibiotics but can also be prevented by vaccination with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines such as PCV7. The leading cause of viral pneumonia is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is also readily transmitted through contact with infected respiratory secretions. Almost all children have an RSV infection before their second birthday—RSV usually causes a mild cold-like illness. However, some children infected with RSV develop pneumonia and have to be admitted to hospital for supportive care such as the provision of supplemental oxygen; there is no specific treatment for RSV infection.
Why Was This Study Done?
Co-infections with bacteria and viruses can sometimes have a synergistic effect and lead to more severe disease than an infection with either type of pathogen (disease-causing organism) alone. For example, influenza infections increase the risk of invasive pneumococcal disease. But does pneumococcal disease also interact with RSV infection? It is important to understand the interaction between pneumococcal disease and RSV to improve the treatment of respiratory infections in young children, but the importance of bacterial infections following RSV infection is currently unclear. Here, the researchers undertake a time series analysis of US hospitalization data to investigate the association between RSV activity and pneumococcal disease in infants. Time series analysis uses statistical methods to analyze data collected at successive, evenly spaced time points.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their analysis, the researchers used data collected between 1992/1993 and 2008/2009 by the State Inpatient Databases on more than 700,000 hospitalizations for RSV and more than 16,000 hospitalizations for pneumococcal pneumonia or septicemia among children under two years old in 36 US states. Using a statistical technique called harmonic regression to measure seasonal variations in disease incidence (the rate of occurrence of new cases of a disease), the researchers show that RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia shared a distinctive spatiotemporal pattern over the study period. Next, using Poisson regression models (another type of statistical analysis), they show that RSV was associated with significant increases (increases unlikely to have happened by chance) in the incidence of pneumococcal disease. Among children under one year old, 20.3% of pneumococcal pneumonia cases were associated with RSV activity; among children 1–2 years old, 10.1% of pneumococcal pneumonia cases were associated with RSV activity. Finally, the researchers report that following the introduction of routine vaccination in the US against S. pneumoniae with PCV7 in 2000, there was a significant decline in hospitalizations for RSV among children under one year old.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide evidence for an interaction between RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia and indicate that RSV is associated with increases in the incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia, particularly in young infants. Notably, the finding that RSV hospitalizations declined after the introduction of routine pneumococcal vaccination suggests that some RSV hospitalizations may have a joint viral–bacterial etiology (cause), although it is possible that PCV7 vaccination reduced the diagnosis of RSV because fewer children were hospitalized with pneumococcal disease and subsequently tested for RSV. Because this is an ecological study (an observational investigation that looks at risk factors and outcomes in temporally and geographically defined populations), these findings do not provide evidence for a causal link between hospitalizations for RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia. The similar spatiotemporal patterns for the two infections might reflect another unknown factor shared by the children who were hospitalized for RSV or pneumococcal pneumonia. Moreover, because pooled hospitalization discharge data were used in this study, these results need to be confirmed through analysis of individual-level, laboratory-confirmed data. Importantly, however, these findings support the initiation of studies to determine whether treatment for bacterial infections should be considered for children with pneumonia even if they have tested positive for RSV.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides information about the respiratory system and about pneumonia
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal vaccination, including personal stories and information about RSV infection
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about pneumonia (including a personal story) and about pneumococcal diseases
KidsHealth, a website provided by the US-based non-profit Nemours Foundation, includes information on pneumonia and on RSV (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about pneumonia, RSV infections, and pneumococcal infections (in English and Spanish)
HCUPnet provides aggregated hospitalization data from the State Inpatient Databases used in this study
PMCID: PMC4285401  PMID: 25562317
13.  Direct Effect of 10-Valent Conjugate Pneumococcal Vaccination on Pneumococcal Carriage in Children Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98128.
10-valent conjugate pneumococcal vaccine/PCV10 was introduced in the Brazilian National Immunization Program along the year of 2010. We assessed the direct effectiveness of PCV10 vaccination in preventing nasopharyngeal/NP pneumococcal carriage in infants.
A cross-sectional population-based household survey was conducted in Goiania Brazil, from December/2010-February/2011 targeting children aged 7–11 m and 15–18 m. Participants were selected using a systematic sampling. NP swabs, demographic data, and vaccination status were collected from 1,287 children during home visits. Main outcome and exposure of interest were PCV10 vaccine-type carriage and dosing schedules (3p+0, 2p+0, and one catch-up dose), respectively. Pneumococcal carriage was defined by a positive culture and serotyping was performed by Quellung reaction. Rate ratio/RR was calculated as the ratio between the prevalence of vaccine-types carriage in children exposed to different schedules and unvaccinated for PCV10. Adjusted RR was estimated using Poisson regression. PCV10 effectiveness/VE on vaccine-type carriage was calculated as 1-RR*100.
The prevalence of pneumococcal carriage was 41.0% (95%CI: 38.4–43.7). Serotypes covered by PCV10 and PCV13 were 35.2% and 53.0%, respectively. Vaccine serotypes 6B (11.6%), 23F (7.8%), 14 (6.8%), and 19F (6.6%) were the most frequently observed. After adjusted for confounders, children who had received 2p+0 or 3p+0 dosing schedule presented a significant reduction in pneumococcal vaccine-type carriage, with PCV10 VE equal to 35.9% (95%CI: 4.2–57.1; p = 0.030) and 44.0% (95%CI: 14.–63.5; p = 0.008), respectively, when compared with unvaccinated children. For children who received one catch-up dose, no significant VE was detected (p = 0.905).
PCV10 was associated with high protection against vaccine-type carriage with 2p+0 and 3p+0 doses for children vaccinated before the second semester of life. The continuous evaluation of carriage serotypes distribution is likely to be useful for evaluating the long-term effectiveness and impact of pneumococcal vaccination on serotypes reduction.
PMCID: PMC4043727  PMID: 24892409
14.  Long-Term Effects of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine on Nasopharyngeal Carriage of S. pneumoniae, S. aureus, H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39730.
Shifts in pneumococcal serotypes following introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) may alter the presence of other bacterial pathogens co-inhabiting the same nasopharyngeal niche.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Nasopharyngeal prevalence rates of S. pneumoniae, S. aureus, H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis were investigated before, 3 and 4.5 years after introduction of PCV-7 in the national immunisation program in children at 11 and 24 months of age, and parents of 24-month-old children (n≈330/group) using conventional culture methods. Despite a virtual disappearance of PCV-7 serotypes over time, similar overall pneumococcal rates were observed in all age groups, except for a significant reduction in the 11-month-old group (adjusted Odds Ratio after 4.5 years 0.48, 95% Confidence Interval 0.34–0.67). Before, 3 and 4.5 years after PCV-7 implementation, prevalence rates of S. aureus were 5%, 9% and 14% at 11 months of age (3.59, 1.90–6.79) and 20%, 32% and 34% in parents (1.96, 1.36–2.83), but remained similar at 24 months of age, respectively. Prevalence rates of H. influenzae were 46%, 65% and 65% at 11 months (2.22, 1.58–3.13), 52%, 73% and 76% at 24 months of age (2.68, 1.88–3.82) and 23%, 30% and 40% in parents (2.26, 1.58–3.33), respectively. No consistent changes in M. catarrhalis carriage rates were observed over time.
In addition to large shifts in pneumococcal serotypes, persistently higher nasopharyngeal prevalence rates of S. aureus and H. influenzae were observed among young children and their parents after PCV-7 implementation. These findings may have implications for disease incidence and antibiotic treatment in the post-PCV era.
PMCID: PMC3382588  PMID: 22761879
15.  Association between early bacterial carriage and otitis media in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in a semi-arid area of Western Australia: a cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:366.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (Pnc), nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Moraxella catarrhalis (Mcat) are the most important bacterial pathogens associated with otitis media (OM). Previous studies have suggested that early upper respiratory tract (URT) bacterial carriage may increase risk of subsequent OM. We investigated associations between early onset of URT bacterial carriage and subsequent diagnosis of OM in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region located in a semi-arid zone of Western Australia.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children who had nasopharyngeal aspirates collected at age 1- < 3 months and at least one clinical examination for OM by an ear, nose and throat specialist before age 2 years were included in this analysis. Tympanometry to detect middle ear effusion was also performed at 2- to 6-monthly scheduled field visits from age 3 months. Multivariate regression models were used to investigate the relationship between early carriage and subsequent diagnosis of OM controlling for environmental factors.
Carriage rates of Pnc, NTHi and Mcat at age 1- < 3 months were 45%, 29% and 48%, respectively, in 66 Aboriginal children and 14%, 5% and 18% in 146 non-Aboriginal children. OM was diagnosed at least once in 71% of Aboriginal children and 43% of non-Aboriginal children. After controlling for age, sex, presence of other bacteria and environmental factors, early nasopharyngeal carriage of NTHi increased the risk of subsequent OM (odds ratio = 3.70, 95% CI 1.22-11.23) in Aboriginal children, while Mcat increased the risk of OM in non-Aboriginal children (odds ratio = 2.63, 95% CI 1.32-5.23). Early carriage of Pnc was not associated with increased risk of OM.
Early NTHi carriage in Aboriginal children and Mcat in non-Aboriginal children is associated with increased risk of OM independent of environmental factors. In addition to addressing environmental risk factors for carriage such as overcrowding and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, early administration of pneumococcal-Haemophilus influenzae D protein conjugate vaccine to reduce bacterial carriage in infants, may be beneficial for Aboriginal children; such an approach is currently being evaluated in Australia.
PMCID: PMC3546895  PMID: 23256870
Otitis media; Aboriginal; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Haemophilus influenzae; Moraxella catarrhalis
16.  The descriptive epidemiology of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae nasopharyngeal carriage in children and adults in Kilifi District, Kenya 
Transmission and nasopharyngeal colonization are necessary steps en route to invasive pneumococcal or Haemophilus influenzae disease but their patterns vary geographically. In East Africa we do not know how these pathogens are transmitted between population sub-groups nor which serotypes circulate commonly.
We did two cross-sectional nasopharyngeal swab surveys selecting subjects randomly from a population register to estimate prevalence and risk-factors for carriage in 2004. H. influenzae type b vaccine was introduced in 2001.
Of 450 individuals sampled in the dry season, 414 were resampled during the rainy season. Among subjects 0-4, 5-9 and 10-85 years old pneumococcal carriage prevalence was 57%, 41% and 6.4%, respectively. H. influenzae prevalence was 26%, 24% and 3.0%, respectively. Prevalence of H. influenzae type b in children <5 years was 1.7%. Significant risk factors for pneumococcal carriage were rainy season (OR 1.65), coryza (OR 2.29) and co-culture of non-capsulate H. influenzae (OR 7.46). Coryza was also a risk factor for H. influenzae carriage (OR 1.90). Of 128 H. influenzae isolates 113 were non-capsulate. Among 279 isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae 40 serotypes were represented and the distribution of serotypes varied significantly with age; 7-valent vaccine-types, vaccine-related types and non-vaccine types comprised 47%, 19% and 34% of strains from children aged <5 years. Among older persons they comprised 25%, 28% and 47%, respectively (p=0.005).
The study shows that pneumococcal carriage is common up to 9 years of age and that the majority of serotypes carried at all ages, are not covered specifically by the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
PMCID: PMC2382474  PMID: 18162940
Nasopharyngeal carriage; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Haemophilus influenzae; developing country; children; adults; serotypes
17.  Longitudinal Nasopharyngeal Carriage and Antibiotic Resistance of Respiratory Bacteria in Indigenous Australian and Alaska Native Children with Bronchiectasis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70478.
Indigenous children in Australia and Alaska have very high rates of chronic suppurative lung disease (CSLD)/bronchiectasis. Antibiotics, including frequent or long-term azithromycin in Australia and short-term beta-lactam therapy in both countries, are often prescribed to treat these patients. In the Bronchiectasis Observational Study we examined over several years the nasopharyngeal carriage and antibiotic resistance of respiratory bacteria in these two PCV7-vaccinated populations.
Indigenous children aged 0.5–8.9 years with CSLD/bronchiectasis from remote Australia (n = 79) and Alaska (n = 41) were enrolled in a prospective cohort study during 2004–8. At scheduled study visits until 2010 antibiotic use in the preceding 2-weeks was recorded and nasopharyngeal swabs collected for culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Analysis of respiratory bacterial carriage and antibiotic resistance was by baseline and final swabs, and total swabs by year.
Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage changed little over time. In contrast, carriage of Haemophilus influenzae declined and Staphylococcus aureus increased (from 0% in 2005–6 to 23% in 2010 in Alaskan children); these changes were associated with increasing age. Moraxella catarrhalis carriage declined significantly in Australian, but not Alaskan, children (from 64% in 2004–6 to 11% in 2010). While beta-lactam antibiotic use was similar in the two cohorts, Australian children received more azithromycin. Macrolide resistance was significantly higher in Australian compared to Alaskan children, while H. influenzae beta-lactam resistance was higher in Alaskan children. Azithromycin use coincided significantly with reduced carriage of S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis, but increased carriage of S. aureus and macrolide-resistant strains of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus (proportion of carriers and all swabs), in a ‘cumulative dose-response’ relationship.
Over time, similar (possibly age-related) changes in nasopharyngeal bacterial carriage were observed in Australian and Alaskan children with CSLD/bronchiectasis. However, there were also significant frequency-dependent differences in carriage and antibiotic resistance that coincided with azithromycin use.
PMCID: PMC3734249  PMID: 23940582
18.  Risk factors for serotype 19A carriage after introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal vaccination 
After the implementation of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7), in several countries, serotype 19A is now the serotype most frequently involved in pneumococcal diseases and carriage. To determine factors potentially related to 19A nasopharyngeal (NP) carriage we analyzed data from an ongoing prospective French national surveillance study of pneumococcal NP carriage in young children.
NP swabs were obtained from children aged 6 to 24 months, either during routine check-ups with normal findings, or when they presented with acute otitis media (AOM). The swabs were sent for analysis to the French National Reference Centre for Pneumococci. Factors influencing pneumococcal carriage and carriage of penicillin non-susceptible (PNSP), 19A and PNS-19A were investigated by multivariate logistic regression.
From 2006 to 2009, 66 practitioners enrolled 3507 children (mean age 13.6 months), of whom, 98.3% of children had been vaccinated with PCV7 and 33.4% of children attended daycare centres (DCC). Serotype 19A was found in 10.4% of the overall population, 20.5% of S. pneumoniae carriers (n = 1780) and 40.8% of PNSP carriers (n = 799). Among 19A strains, 10.7% were penicillin-susceptible, 80% intermediate and 9.3% fully resistant. Logistic regression analysis showed that the main factors associated with PNSP carriage were AOM (OR = 3.09, 95% CI [2.39;3.98]), DCC (OR = 1.70, 95% CI [1.42;2.03]), and recent antibiotic use (OR = 1.24, 95% CI [1.05;1.47]. The main factors predictive of 19A carriage were recent antibiotic use (OR = 1.81, 95% CI [1.42;2.30]), AOM (OR = 1.67, 95% CI [1.11;2.49]), DCC (OR = 1.56, 95% CI [1.21;2.2] and young age, <12 months (OR = 1.51, 95% CI [1.16;1.97]).
In a population of children aged from 6 to 24 months with a high rate of PCV7 vaccination coverage, we found that antibiotic exposure, DCC attendance and AOM were linked to 19A carriage.
PMCID: PMC3101155  PMID: 21501471
19.  Optimal Serotype Compositions for Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination under Serotype Replacement 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(2):e1003477.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccination has proved highly effective in eliminating vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage and disease. However, the potential adverse effects of serotype replacement remain a major concern when implementing routine childhood pneumococcal conjugate vaccination programmes. Applying a concise predictive model, we present a ready-to-use quantitative tool to investigate the implications of serotype replacement on the net effectiveness of vaccination against invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and to guide in the selection of optimal vaccine serotype compositions. We utilise pre-vaccination data on pneumococcal carriage and IPD and assume partial or complete elimination of vaccine-type carriage, its replacement by non-vaccine-type carriage, and stable case-to-carrier ratios (probability of IPD per carriage episode). The model predicts that the post-vaccination IPD incidences in Finland for currently available vaccine serotype compositions can eventually decrease among the target age group of children <5 years of age by 75%. However, due to replacement through herd effects, the decrease among the older population is predicted to be much less (20–40%). We introduce a sequential algorithm for the search of optimal serotype compositions and assess the robustness of inferences to uncertainties in data and assumptions about carriage and IPD. The optimal serotype composition depends on the age group of interest and some serotypes may be highly beneficial vaccine types in one age category (e.g. 6B in children), while being disadvantageous in another. The net effectiveness will be improved only if the added serotype has a higher case-to-carrier ratio than the average case-to-carrier ratio of the current non-vaccine types and the degree of improvement in effectiveness depends on the carriage incidence of the serotype. The serotype compositions of currently available pneumococcal vaccines are not optimal and the effectiveness of vaccination in the population at large could be improved by including new serotypes in the vaccine (e.g. 22 and 9N).
Author Summary
The bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a major contributor to child mortality worldwide. Hence, effective pneumococcal vaccination programmes are globally among the most cost-effective public health interventions. Three different conjugate vaccine compositions, targeting 7, 10 or 13 pneumococcal serotypes, have been used in infant vaccination programmes. The use of these vaccines has both decreased the disease burden and changed the patterns of pneumococcal carriage in locations where they have been in use. However, due to serotype replacement, where the lost vaccine serotype carriage is replaced by carriage of the non-vaccine serotypes, the net effect of vaccination on the disease burden has generally been milder than expected. Here, we apply a concise model for serotype replacement and present a ready-to-use tool for the prediction of patterns in post-vaccination pneumococcal incidence of carriage and invasive disease. We introduce a sequential algorithm for the identification of the most optimal additional serotypes to current vaccine formulations and demonstrate how differences in the invasiveness across serotypes imply that the disease incidence may either decrease or increase after vaccination. The methods we outline have direct relevance in decision making while reviewing the performance of the current pneumococcal vaccination programmes.
PMCID: PMC3923658  PMID: 24550722
20.  Impact of More Than a Decade of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Use on Carriage and Invasive Potential in Native American Communities 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;205(2):280-288.
Background. We assessed the impact of 12 years of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) use on pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage and serotype-specific invasive disease potential among Native Americans.
Methods. Families were enrolled in a carriage study from 2006 to 2008; nasopharyngeal specimens and risk factor information were collected monthly for 7 visits. Pneumococcal carriage prevalence was compared with that before (1998–2000) and during (2001–2002) PCV7 introduction. We compared invasive disease incidence and carriage prevalence before and after PCV7 introduction to estimate changes in serotype-specific invasive potential.
Results. We enrolled 1077 subjects from 302 households. There was an absolute reduction in carriage prevalence of 8.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.5%–11.4%) in children aged <5 years and 3.1% (95% CI, 1.1%–5.1%) in adults. In children aged <5 years, vaccine-serotype carriage prevalence decreased by 22.8% (95% CI, 20.1%–25.3%), and nonvaccine serotype (NVT) increased by 15.9% (95% CI, 12.4%–19.3%). No significant change was detected in serotype-specific invasive potential after PCV7 introduction.
Conclusions. Pneumococcal carriage prevalence decreased in all ages since PCV7 introduction; vaccine-serotype carriage has been nearly eliminated, whereas the prevalence of NVT carriage has increased. The increase in the NVT invasive disease rate seems to be proportional to the increase in colonization prevalence.
PMCID: PMC3244367  PMID: 22128315
21.  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
22.  Pneumococcal Carriage in Sub-Saharan Africa—A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85001.
Pneumococcal epidemiology varies geographically and few data are available from the African continent. We assess pneumococcal carriage from studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa (sSA) before and after the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) era.
A search for pneumococcal carriage studies published before 2012 was conducted to describe carriage in sSA. The review also describes pneumococcal serotypes and assesses the impact of vaccination on carriage in this region.
Fifty-seven studies were included in this review with the majority (40.3%) from South Africa. There was considerable variability in the prevalence of carriage between studies (I-squared statistic = 99%). Carriage was higher in children and decreased with increasing age, 63.2% (95% CI: 55.6–70.8) in children less than 5 years, 42.6% (95% CI: 29.9–55.4) in children 5–15 years and 28.0% (95% CI: 19.0–37.0) in adults older than 15 years. There was no difference in the prevalence of carriage between males and females in 9/11 studies. Serotypes 19F, 6B, 6A, 14 and 23F were the five most common isolates. A meta-analysis of four randomized trials of PCV vaccination in children aged 9–24 months showed that carriage of vaccine type (VT) serotypes decreased with PCV vaccination; however, overall carriage remained the same because of a concomitant increase in non-vaccine type (NVT) serotypes.
Pneumococcal carriage is generally high in the African continent, particularly in young children. The five most common serotypes in sSA are among the top seven serotypes that cause invasive pneumococcal disease in children globally. These serotypes are covered by the two PCVs recommended for routine childhood immunization by the WHO. The distribution of serotypes found in the nasopharynx is altered by PCV vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3896352  PMID: 24465464
23.  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
24.  Pneumococcal Carriage in Young Children One Year after Introduction of the 13-Valent Conjugate Vaccine in Italy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76309.
In mid 2010, the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was replaced by the 13-valent conjugate vaccine (PCV13) for childhood immunization in Italy. Our objective in this study was to obtain a snapshot of pneumococcal carriage frequency, colonizing serotypes, and antibiotic resistance in healthy children in two Italian cities one year after PCV13 was introduced.
Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from 571 children aged 0-5 years from November 2011-April 2012. Pneumococcal isolates were serotyped and tested for antimicrobial susceptibility. Penicillin and/or erythromycin non-susceptible isolates were analyzed by Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST).
Among the children examined, 81.2% had received at least one dose of PCV7 or PCV13 and 74.9% had completed the recommended vaccination schedule for their age. Among the latter, 57.3% of children had received PCV7, 27.1% PCV13, and 15.6% a combination of the two vaccines. The overall carriage rate was 32.9%, with children aged 6-35 months the most prone to pneumococcal colonization (6-23 months OR: 3.75; 95% CI: 2.19-6.43 and 24-35 months OR: 3.15, 95%CI: 2.36-4.22). A total of 184 pneumococcal isolates were serotyped and divided into PCV7 (5.4%), PCV13 (18.0%), and non-PCV13 (82.0%) serotypes. Serotypes 6C, 24F, and 19A were the most prevalent (10.3%, 8.6%, and 8.1%, respectively). The proportion of penicillin non-susceptible (MIC >0.6 mg/L) isolates was 30.9%, while 42.3% were erythromycin resistant. Non-PCV13 serotypes accounted for 75.4% and 70.8% of the penicillin and erythromycin non-susceptible isolates, respectively.
Our results revealed low rates of PCV7 and PCV13 serotypes in Italian children, potentially due to the effects of vaccination. As the use of PCV13 continues, its potential impact on vaccine serotypes such as 19A and cross-reactive serotypes such as 6C will be assessed, with this study providing a baseline for further analysis of surveillance isolates.
PMCID: PMC3790677  PMID: 24124543
25.  Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients with Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at:
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website:
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website:
The objective of this analysis was to determine the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in reducing the incidence of influenza-related illness or pneumococcal pneumonia.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Influenza Disease
Influenza is a global threat. It is believed that the risk of a pandemic of influenza still exists. Three pandemics occurred in the 20th century which resulted in millions of deaths worldwide. The fourth pandemic of H1N1 influenza occurred in 2009 and affected countries in all continents.
Rates of serious illness due to influenza viruses are high among older people and patients with chronic conditions such as COPD. The influenza viruses spread from person to person through sneezing and coughing. Infected persons can transfer the virus even a day before their symptoms start. The incubation period is 1 to 4 days with a mean of 2 days. Symptoms of influenza infection include fever, shivering, dry cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose, muscle ache, and sore throat. Other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur.
Complications of influenza infection include viral pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and other secondary bacterial infections such as bronchitis, sinusitis, and otitis media. In viral pneumonia, patients develop acute fever and dyspnea, and may further show signs and symptoms of hypoxia. The organisms involved in bacterial pneumonia are commonly identified as Staphylococcus aureus and Hemophilus influenza. The incidence of secondary bacterial pneumonia is most common in the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as congestive heart disease and chronic bronchitis.
Healthy people usually recover within one week but in very young or very old people and those with underlying medical conditions such as COPD, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, influenza is associated with higher risks and may lead to hospitalization and in some cases death. The cause of hospitalization or death in many cases is viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. Influenza infection can lead to the exacerbation of COPD or an underlying heart disease.
Streptococcal Pneumonia
Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is an encapsulated Gram-positive bacterium that often colonizes in the nasopharynx of healthy children and adults. Pneumococcus can be transmitted from person to person during close contact. The bacteria can cause illnesses such as otitis media and sinusitis, and may become more aggressive and affect other areas of the body such as the lungs, brain, joints, and blood stream. More severe infections caused by pneumococcus are pneumonia, bacterial sepsis, meningitis, peritonitis, arthritis, osteomyelitis, and in rare cases, endocarditis and pericarditis.
People with impaired immune systems are susceptible to pneumococcal infection. Young children, elderly people, patients with underlying medical conditions including chronic lung or heart disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, sickle cell disease, and people who have undergone a splenectomy are at a higher risk for acquiring pneumococcal pneumonia.
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccines
Trivalent Influenza Vaccines in Canada
In Canada, 5 trivalent influenza vaccines are currently authorized for use by injection. Four of these are formulated for intramuscular use and the fifth product (Intanza®) is formulated for intradermal use.
The 4 vaccines for intramuscular use are:
Fluviral (GlaxoSmithKline), split virus, inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months;
Vaxigrip (Sanofi Pasteur), split virus inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months;
Agriflu (Novartis), surface antigen inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months; and
Influvac (Abbott), surface antigen inactivated vaccine, for use in persons ≥ 18 years of age.
FluMist is a live attenuated virus in the form of an intranasal spray for persons aged 2 to 59 years. Immunization with current available influenza vaccines is not recommended for infants less than 6 months of age.
Pneumococcal Vaccine
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines were developed more than 50 years ago and have progressed from 2-valent vaccines to the current 23-valent vaccines to prevent diseases caused by 23 of the most common serotypes of S pneumoniae. Canada-wide estimates suggest that approximately 90% of cases of pneumococcal bacteremia and meningitis are caused by these 23 serotypes. Health Canada has issued licenses for 2 types of 23-valent vaccines to be injected intramuscularly or subcutaneously:
Pneumovax 23® (Merck & Co Inc. Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA), and
Pneumo 23® (Sanofi Pasteur SA, Lion, France) for persons 2 years of age and older.
Other types of pneumococcal vaccines licensed in Canada are for pediatric use. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is injected only once. A second dose is applied only in some conditions.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination compared with no vaccination in COPD patients?
What is the safety of these 2 vaccines in COPD patients?
What is the budget impact and cost-effectiveness of these 2 vaccines in COPD patients?
Research Methods
Literature search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on July 5, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2000 to July 5, 2010. The search was updated monthly through the AutoAlert function of the search up to January 31, 2011. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Articles with an unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. Data extraction was carried out by the author.
Inclusion Criteria
studies comparing clinical efficacy of the influenza vaccine or the pneumococcal vaccine with no vaccine or placebo;
randomized controlled trials published between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2011;
studies including patients with COPD only;
studies investigating the efficacy of types of vaccines approved by Health Canada;
English language studies.
Exclusion Criteria
non-randomized controlled trials;
studies investigating vaccines for other diseases;
studies comparing different variations of vaccines;
studies in which patients received 2 or more types of vaccines;
studies comparing different routes of administering vaccines;
studies not reporting clinical efficacy of the vaccine or reporting immune response only;
studies investigating the efficacy of vaccines not approved by Health Canada.
Outcomes of Interest
Primary Outcomes
Influenza vaccination: Episodes of acute respiratory illness due to the influenza virus.
Pneumococcal vaccination: Time to the first episode of community-acquired pneumonia either due to pneumococcus or of unknown etiology.
Secondary Outcomes
rate of hospitalization and mechanical ventilation
mortality rate
adverse events
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses. The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Efficacy of the Influenza Vaccination in Immunocompetent Patients With COPD
Clinical Effectiveness
The influenza vaccination was associated with significantly fewer episodes of influenza-related acute respiratory illness (ARI). The incidence density of influenza-related ARI was:
All patients: vaccine group: (total of 4 cases) = 6.8 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 17 cases) = 28.1 episodes per 100 person-years, (relative risk [RR], 0.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06−0.70; P = 0.005).
Patients with severe airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] < 50% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 1 case) = 4.6 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 7 cases) = 31.2 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.003−1.1; P = 0.04).
Patients with moderate airflow obstruction (FEV1 50%−69% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 2 cases) = 13.2 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 4 cases) = 23.8 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.05−3.8; P = 0.5).
Patients with mild airflow obstruction (FEV1 ≥ 70% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 1 case) = 4.5 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 6 cases) = 28.2 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.003−1.3; P = 0.06).
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a significant difference between the vaccinated group and the placebo group regarding the probability of not acquiring influenza-related ARI (log-rank test P value = 0.003). Overall, the vaccine effectiveness was 76%. For categories of mild, moderate, or severe COPD the vaccine effectiveness was 84%, 45%, and 85% respectively.
With respect to hospitalization, fewer patients in the vaccine group compared with the placebo group were hospitalized due to influenza-related ARIs, although these differences were not statistically significant. The incidence density of influenza-related ARIs that required hospitalization was 3.4 episodes per 100 person-years in the vaccine group and 8.3 episodes per 100 person-years in the placebo group (RR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.04−2.5; P = 0.3; log-rank test P value = 0.2). Also, no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups were observed for the 3 categories of severity of COPD.
Fewer patients in the vaccine group compared with the placebo group required mechanical ventilation due to influenza-related ARIs. However, these differences were not statistically significant. The incidence density of influenza-related ARIs that required mechanical ventilation was 0 episodes per 100 person-years in the vaccine group and 5 episodes per 100 person-years in the placebo group (RR, 0.0; 95% CI, 0−2.5; P = 0.1; log-rank test P value = 0.4). In addition, no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups were observed for the 3 categories of severity of COPD. The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine in preventing influenza-related ARIs and influenza-related hospitalization was not related to age, sex, severity of COPD, smoking status, or comorbid diseases.
Overall, significantly more patients in the vaccine group than the placebo group experienced local adverse reactions (vaccine: 17 [27%], placebo: 4 [6%]; P = 0.002). Significantly more patients in the vaccine group than the placebo group experienced swelling (vaccine 4, placebo 0; P = 0.04) and itching (vaccine 4, placebo 0; P = 0.04). Systemic reactions included headache, myalgia, fever, and skin rash and there were no significant differences between the 2 groups for these reactions (vaccine: 47 [76%], placebo: 51 [81%], P = 0.5).
With respect to lung function, dyspneic symptoms, and exercise capacity, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups at 1 week and at 4 weeks in: FEV1, maximum inspiratory pressure at residual volume, oxygen saturation level of arterial blood, visual analogue scale for dyspneic symptoms, and the 6 Minute Walking Test for exercise capacity.
There was no significant difference between the 2 groups with regard to the probability of not acquiring total ARIs (influenza-related and/or non-influenza-related); (log-rank test P value = 0.6).
Summary of Efficacy of the Pneumococcal Vaccination in Immunocompetent Patients With COPD
Clinical Effectiveness
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed no significant differences between the group receiving the penumoccocal vaccination and the control group for time to the first episode of community-acquired pneumonia due to pneumococcus or of unknown etiology (log-rank test 1.15; P = 0.28). Overall, vaccine efficacy was 24% (95% CI, −24 to 54; P = 0.33).
With respect to the incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia, the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a significant difference between the 2 groups (vaccine: 0/298; control: 5/298; log-rank test 5.03; P = 0.03).
Hospital admission rates and median length of hospital stays were lower in the vaccine group, but the difference was not statistically significant. The mortality rate was not different between the 2 groups.
Subgroup Analysis
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed significant differences between the vaccine and control groups for pneumonia due to pneumococcus and pneumonia of unknown etiology, and when data were analyzed according to subgroups of patients (age < 65 years, and severe airflow obstruction FEV1 < 40% predicted). The accumulated percentage of patients without pneumonia (due to pneumococcus and of unknown etiology) across time was significantly lower in the vaccine group than in the control group in patients younger than 65 years of age (log-rank test 6.68; P = 0.0097) and patients with a FEV1 less than 40% predicted (log-rank test 3.85; P = 0.0498).
Vaccine effectiveness was 76% (95% CI, 20−93; P = 0.01) for patients who were less than 65 years of age and −14% (95% CI, −107 to 38; P = 0.8) for those who were 65 years of age or older. Vaccine effectiveness for patients with a FEV1 less than 40% predicted and FEV1 greater than or equal to 40% predicted was 48% (95% CI, −7 to 80; P = 0.08) and −11% (95% CI, −132 to 47; P = 0.95), respectively. For patients who were less than 65 years of age (FEV1 < 40% predicted), vaccine effectiveness was 91% (95% CI, 35−99; P = 0.002).
Cox modelling showed that the effectiveness of the vaccine was dependent on the age of the patient. The vaccine was not effective in patients 65 years of age or older (hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% CI, 0.61−a2.17; P = 0.66) but it reduced the risk of acquiring pneumonia by 80% in patients less than 65 years of age (hazard ratio, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.06−0.66; P = 0.01).
No patients reported any local or systemic adverse reactions to the vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3384373  PMID: 23074431

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