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1.  Real-time polymerase chain reaction for microbiological diagnosis of parapneumonic effusions in Canadian children 
Community-acquired pneumonia with parapneumonic effusion/empyema is not uncommon in children and can cause serious illness; there -fore, the timely optimization of antimicrobial therapy is essential in this situation. The aim of this study was to determine whether using real-time polymerase chain reaction of pleural fluids to identify the causative organism improves the process of microbiological diagnosis in the context of community-acquired pneumonia with parapneumonic effusion/empyema. This technique was compared with traditional culture methods for microbiological diagnosis.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) complicated by parapneumonic effusion/empyema is an infectious syndrome commonly encountered by physicians caring for children in Canada.
To investigate the incremental benefit of novel molecular testing for the microbiological diagnosis of pediatric CAP complicated by parapneumonic effusion/empyema in Canada.
A convenience sample of pleural fluid from 56 children who had been admitted to hospital in Ontario with CAP complicated by parapneumonic effusion between 2009 and 2011 was examined. Multiple uniplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing was performed on these pleural fluids and compared with traditional culture-based testing of blood and pleural fluid samples.
Molecular methods detected a pathogen in 82% of cases, whereas traditional cultures of blood and pleural fluids detected a pathogen in only 25%. The majority of parapneumonic effusions were associated with pneumococcal infection; Streptococcus pneumoniae was detected in 62% of the samples using molecular methods but in only 14% of samples using culture-based methods. Streptococcus pyogenes, detected in 16% of samples using PCR, was the second most common pathogen found. No patients were found to have empyema caused by Staphylococcus aureus.
The results showed that multiple uniplex real-time PCR performed substantially better than traditional culture methods for microbiological diagnosis of CAP complicated by effusion/ empyema. S pneumoniae and S pyogenes were found to be responsible for the majority of infections. The approach detected pathogens in a similar proportion of pleural fluid samples as previously reported nested PCR assays; furthermore, the real-time closed-well approach also minimized the risk of nonspecificity due to cross-contamination relative to nested PCR.
Real-time PCR for the detection of bacterial DNA in pleural fluids has the potential to better define the microbiological cause of pediatric CAP. This approach could help clinicians provide targeted antimicrobial therapy.
PMCID: PMC4173977  PMID: 25285111
Empyema; Pleural effusion; Pneumonia; Polymerase chain reaction
2.  Efficacy of Pneumococcal Nontypable Haemophilus influenzae Protein D Conjugate Vaccine (PHiD-CV) in Young Latin American Children: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(6):e1001657.
In a double-blind randomized controlled trial, Xavier Saez-Llorens and colleagues examine the vaccine efficacy of PHiD-CV against community-acquired pneumonia in young children in Panama, Argentina, and Columbia.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
The relationship between pneumococcal conjugate vaccine–induced antibody responses and protection against community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and acute otitis media (AOM) is unclear. This study assessed the impact of the ten-valent pneumococcal nontypable Haemophilus influenzae protein D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) on these end points. The primary objective was to demonstrate vaccine efficacy (VE) in a per-protocol analysis against likely bacterial CAP (B-CAP: radiologically confirmed CAP with alveolar consolidation/pleural effusion on chest X-ray, or non-alveolar infiltrates and C-reactive protein ≥ 40 µg/ml); other protocol-specified outcomes were also assessed.
Methods and Findings
This phase III double-blind randomized controlled study was conducted between 28 June 2007 and 28 July 2011 in Argentine, Panamanian, and Colombian populations with good access to health care. Approximately 24,000 infants received PHiD-CV or hepatitis control vaccine (hepatitis B for primary vaccination, hepatitis A at booster) at 2, 4, 6, and 15–18 mo of age. Interim analysis of the primary end point was planned when 535 first B-CAP episodes, occurring ≥2 wk after dose 3, were identified in the per-protocol cohort. After a mean follow-up of 23 mo (PHiD-CV, n = 10,295; control, n = 10,201), per-protocol VE was 22.0% (95% CI: 7.7, 34.2; one-sided p = 0.002) against B-CAP (conclusive for primary objective) and 25.7% (95% CI: 8.4%, 39.6%) against World Health Organization–defined consolidated CAP. Intent-to-treat VE was 18.2% (95% CI: 5.5%, 29.1%) against B-CAP and 23.4% (95% CI: 8.8%, 35.7%) against consolidated CAP. End-of-study per-protocol analyses were performed after a mean follow-up of 28–30 mo for CAP and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) (PHiD-CV, n = 10,211; control, n = 10,140) and AOM (n = 3,010 and 2,979, respectively). Per-protocol VE was 16.1% (95% CI: −1.1%, 30.4%; one-sided p = 0.032) against clinically confirmed AOM, 67.1% (95% CI: 17.0%, 86.9%) against vaccine serotype clinically confirmed AOM, 100% (95% CI: 74.3%, 100%) against vaccine serotype IPD, and 65.0% (95% CI: 11.1%, 86.2%) against any IPD. Results were consistent between intent-to-treat and per-protocol analyses. Serious adverse events were reported for 21.5% (95% CI: 20.7%, 22.2%) and 22.6% (95% CI: 21.9%, 23.4%) of PHiD-CV and control recipients, respectively. There were 19 deaths (n = 11,798; 0.16%) in the PHiD-CV group and 26 deaths (n = 11,799; 0.22%) in the control group. A significant study limitation was the lower than expected number of captured AOM cases.
Efficacy was demonstrated against a broad range of pneumococcal diseases commonly encountered in young children in clinical practice.
Trial registration NCT00466947
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Pneumococcal diseases are illnesses caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, pathogens (disease-causing organisms) that are transmitted through contact with infected respiratory secretions. S. pneumoniae causes mucosal diseases–infections of the lining of the body cavities that are connected to the outside world–such as community-acquired pneumonia (CAP; lung infection) and acute otitis media (AOM; middle-ear infection). It also causes invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPDs) such as septicemia and meningitis (infections of the bloodstream and the covering of the brain, respectively). Although pneumococcal diseases can sometimes be treated with antibiotics, CAP and IPDs are leading global causes of childhood deaths, particularly in developing countries. It is best therefore to avoid S. pneumoniae infections through vaccination. Vaccination primes the immune system to recognize and attack 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 (“serotypes”), each characterized by a different antigenic polysaccharide (complex sugar) coat, S. pneumoniae vaccines have to include antigens from multiple serotypes. For example, the PHiD-CV vaccine contains polysaccharides from ten S. pneumoniae serotypes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although in most countries PHiD-CV has been licensed for protection against IPD and pneumococcal AOM, at the time of study, it was not known how well it protected against CAP and overall AOM, which are important public health problems. In this double-blind randomized controlled trial (the Clinical Otitis Media and Pneumonia Study; COMPAS), the researchers investigate the efficacy of PHiD-CV against CAP and AOM and assess other clinical end points, such as IPD, in Latin American infants. Double-blind randomized controlled trials compare the effects of interventions by assigning study participants to different interventions randomly and measuring predefined outcomes without the study participants or researchers knowing who has received which intervention until the trial is completed. Vaccine efficacy is the reduction in the incidence of a disease (the number of new cases that occur in a population in a given time) among trial participants who receive the vaccine compared to the incidence among participants who do not receive the vaccine.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled around 24,000 infants living in urban areas of Argentina, Panama, and Colombia. Half the infants were given PHiD-CV at 2, 4, and 6 months of age and a booster dose at age 15–18 months. The remaining infants were given a hepatitis control vaccine at the same intervals. The trial's primary end point was likely bacterial CAP (B-CAP) –radiologically confirmed CAP, with the airspaces (alveoli) in the lungs filled with liquid instead of gas (alveolar consolidation) or with non-alveolar infiltrates and raised blood levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). In a planned interim analysis, which was undertaken after an average follow-up of 23 months, the vaccine efficacy in the per-protocol cohort (the group of participants who actually received their assigned intervention) was 22% against B-CAP. Intent-to-treat vaccine efficacy in the interim analysis (which considered all the trial participants regardless of whether they received their assigned intervention) was 18.2%. At the end of the study (average follow up 30 months), the vaccine efficacy against B-CAP was 18.2% and 16.7% in the per-protocol and intent-to-treat cohorts, respectively. Per-protocol vaccine efficacies against clinically confirmed AOM and vaccine serotype AOM were 16.1% and 67.1%, respectively. Against any IPD and against vaccine serotype IPD, the respective vaccine efficacies were 65% and 100%. Finally, about one-fifth of children who received PHiD-CV and a similar proportion who received the control vaccine experienced a serious adverse event (for example, gastroenteritis); 19 children who received PHiD-CV died compared to 26 children who received the control vaccine.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that in Latin America, a region with an intermediate burden of pneumococcal disease, PHiD-CV is efficacious against a broad range of pneumococcal diseases that often affect young children. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by the withdrawal of 14% of participants from the trial because of adverse media coverage and by the low number of reported cases of AOM. Moreover, because most study participants lived in urban areas, these findings may not be generalizable to rural settings. Despite these and other study limitations, these findings provide new information about the magnitude of the effect of PHiD-CV vaccination against CAP and AOM, two mucosal pneumococcal diseases of global public health importance.
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 not-for-profit Immunization Action Coalition has information on pneumococcal disease, including personal stories
The GAVI Alliance provides information about pneumococcal disease and the importance of vaccination
MedlinePlus has links to further information about pneumococcal infections, including pneumonia and otitis media (in English and Spanish)
More information about COMPAS is available
The European Medicines Agency provides information about PHiD-CV (Synflorix)
PMCID: PMC4043495  PMID: 24892763
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Empyema associated with community-acquired pneumonia: A Pediatric Investigator's Collaborative Network on Infections in Canada (PICNIC) study 
Although the incidence of serious morbidity with childhood pneumonia has decreased over time, empyema as a complication of community-acquired pneumonia continues to be an important clinical problem. We reviewed the epidemiology and clinical management of empyema at 8 pediatric hospitals in a period before the widespread implementation of universal infant heptavalent pneumococcal vaccine programs in Canada.
Health records for children < 18 years admitted from 1/1/00–31/12/03 were searched for ICD-9 code 510 or ICD-10 code J869 (Empyema). Empyema was defined as at least one of: thoracentesis with microbial growth from pleural fluid, or no pleural fluid growth but compatible chemistry or cell count, or radiologist diagnosis, or diagnosis at surgery. Patients with empyemas secondary to chest trauma, thoracic surgery or esophageal rupture were excluded. Data was retrieved using a standard form with a data dictionary.
251 children met inclusion criteria; 51.4% were male. Most children were previously healthy and those ≤ 5 years of age comprised 57% of the cases. The median length of hospitalization was 9 days. Admissions occurred in all months but peaked in winter. Oxygen supplementation was required in 77% of children, 75% had chest tube placement and 33% were admitted to an intensive care unit. While similarity in use of pain medication, antipyretics and antimicrobial use was observed, a wide variation in number of chest radiographs and invasive procedures (thoracentesis, placement of chest tubes) was observed between centers. The most common organism found in normally sterile samples (blood, pleural fluid, lung biopsy) was Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Empyema occurs most commonly in children under five years and is associated with considerable morbidity. Variation in management by center was observed. Enhanced surveillance using molecular methods could improve diagnosis and public health planning, particularly with regard to the relationship between immunization programs and the epidemiology of empyema associated with community-acquired pneumonia in children.
PMCID: PMC2571094  PMID: 18816409
6.  In-hospital management of children with bacterial meningitis in Italy 
Over the years 2009–2013, we conducted a prospective study within a network established by the Italian Society of Pediatrics to describe the in-hospital management of children hospitalized for acute bacterial meningitis in 19 Italian hospitals with pediatric wards.
Hospital adherence to the study was voluntary; data were derived from clinical records. Information included demographic data, dates of onset of first symptoms, hospitalization and discharge; diagnostic evaluation; etiology; antimicrobial treatment; treatment with dexamethasone; in-hospital complications; neurological sequelae and status at hospital discharge. Characteristics of in-hospital management of patients were described by causative agent.
Eighty-five patients were identified; 49.4% had received an antimicrobial treatment prior to admission. Forty percent of patients were transferred from other Centers; the indication to seek for hospital care was given by the primary care pediatrician in 80% of other children. Etiological agent was confirmed in 65.9% of cases; the most common infectious organism was Neisseria meningitidis (34.1%), followed by Streptococcus pneumoniae (20%). Patients with pneumococcal meningitis had a significant longer interval between onset of first symptoms and hospital admission. Median interval between the physician suspicion of meningitis and in-hospital first antimicrobial dose was 1 hour (interquartile range [IQR]: 1–2 hours). Corticosteroids were given to 63.5% of cases independently of etiology; 63.0% of treated patients received dexamethasone within 1 hour of antibiotic treatment, and 41.2% were treated for ≤4 days. Twenty-nine patients reported at least one in-hospital complication (34.1%). Six patients had neurological sequelae at discharge (7.1%). No deaths were observed.
We observed a rate of meningitis sequelae at discharge similar to that reported by other western countries. Timely assistance and early treatment could have contributed to the favorable outcome that was observed in the majority of cases. Adherence to recommendation for corticosteroid adjunctive therapy seems suboptimal, and should be investigated in further studies. Most meningitis cases were due to N. meningitidis and S. pneumoniae. Reaching and maintaining adequate vaccination coverage against pneumococcal and meningococcal invasive infections remains a priority to prevent bacterial meningitis cases.
PMCID: PMC4247725  PMID: 25584885
Bacterial meningitis; Children; Meningitis sequelae; Neisseria meningitidis; Streptococcus pneumoniae
7.  Pneumococcal Serotypes Causing Pneumonia with Pleural Effusion in Pediatric Patients▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(2):534-538.
To determine the prevalence of serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae responsible for pneumonia with pleural effusion, we determined the capsular polysaccharide (PS) type directly on 49 pleural fluid specimens collected from pediatric patients during 2007 to 2009 with laboratory-confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia by using monoclonal antibodies and a multiplex, bead array immunoassay. Because the fluids had to be heated to remove nonspecific reactivity before being tested in the immunoassay and type 19A PS is heat labile, the pleural fluid samples were also tested for serotype 19A capsule gene locus by PCR. Use of the multiplex immunoassay combined with type-specific 19A PCR allowed for serotype determination on 40 of 49 pleural fluids. Pneumococcal pneumonia with pleural effusion was associated with a limited number of serotypes, with types 1, 3, 7F/A, and 19A accounting for 75% of the typeable cases. The concentration of capsular PS in the pleural fluids was often greater than 1 μg/ml and sufficient to inhibit the opsonic capacity of sera from individuals who had received the 23-valent pneumococcal PS vaccine. Based on the serotypes observed before and after introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the recently licensed 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine may reduce the incidence of pneumonia with pleural effusions.
PMCID: PMC3043489  PMID: 21123535
8.  Pneumococcal Necrotizing Pneumonia in Utah: Does Serotype Matter? 
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children. Despite the use of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the incidence of pneumococcal necrotizing pneumonia (PNP) has been increasing. Our objectives were to describe temporal trends in PNP and to evaluate pneumococcal serotypes associated with PNP in Utah.
We performed a retrospective review of all children <18 years of age who were cared for at a tertiary care children’s hospital and who had blood, lung tissue, broncheoalveolar lavage, or pleural fluid cultures that grew S. pneumoniae, as well as radiographic evidence of pneumonia, from January 1997 through March 2006. All S. pneumoniae isolates were typed.
A total of 124 children with pneumococcal pneumonia were identified, and 33 (27%) of these children had radiographic evidence of PNP. During the period 1997–2000, 5 (13%) of 39 cases of culture-confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia were associated with PNP. In contrast, during the period 2001–2006, 28 (33%) of 85 pneumococcal pneumonia cases were complicated by PNP (odds ratio, 3.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.11–12.03). Non–7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine serotypes comprised 49% of the isolates during 1997–2000 and 88% of isolates during 2001–2006 (odds ratio, 7.89; 95% confidence interval, 2.91–21.90). Pneumonia due to serotype 3 was most often associated with PNP. Eleven (79%) of 14 cases of serotype 3–associated pneumonia were associated with PNP. When compared with all other serotypes, serotype 3 was strongly associated with necrosis (odds ratio, 14.67; 95% confidence interval, 3.39–86.25).
PNP is a serious and increasingly common complication of S. pneumoniae pneumonia in Utah. Infection with serotype 3 is associated with an increased risk of developing PNP. The increase in the incidence of infection due to nonvaccine serotypes reported worldwide and the changing epidemiology of invasive pneumococcal disease should be considered when developing vaccine strategies.
PMCID: PMC3673544  PMID: 18419434
9.  Clinical features and outcomes of invasive pneumococcal disease in a pediatric intensive care unit 
BMC Pediatrics  2015;15:85.
Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) results in high morbidity and mortality globally each year, although it is a vaccine-preventable disease. This study aimed to characterize the clinical features of IPD in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in Taiwan. The seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced in the private sector in October 2005. The estimated coverage rate of PCV7 vaccination in 2010 was 45.5 % among children <5 years of age.
We conducted a retrospective study at a single center in northern Taiwan for invasive pneumococcal disease in a PICU from 2009 to 2013. Demographic characteristics, clinical courses, serotype, antibiotic susceptibility, and outcomes were analyzed.
Over the 5-year study period, 2167 patients were admitted to the PICU; 48 (2.2 %) had IPD. There were 29 female and 19 male patients. Their mean age was 3.7 years (range 0.7–12.5 years, with the peak age at 2–5 years; n = 30, 63 %). Pneumonia was the most frequent type (n = 38, 79 %), followed by meningitis (n = 10, 21 %). In total, three patients died, all within 72 h after admission; the final diagnoses were all meningitis. Thirty-four children with pneumonia received chest tube insertion for pleural effusion drainage. Of them, 22 (65 %) finally still underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. Eight (17 %) children had hemolytic uremic syndrome, and seven of them underwent hemodialysis. In total, 37 serotypes were detected; 95 % were covered by PCV13. Serotype 19A was most common (54 %) overall; however, in those with meningitis, serotype 19 F was most common.
Meningitis is the most severe type of invasive pneumococcal disease in our pediatric intensive care unit. It may progress rapidly even when subjects are given antibiotics promptly. The most common serotype in meningitis is 19 F, which is vaccine preventable. Thus, universal mass pneumococcal vaccination is still needed.
PMCID: PMC4504450  PMID: 26184113
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS); herd immunity; invasive pneumococcal disease; mortality; pediatric intensive care unit; pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; serotype 19 F; Streptococcus pneumoniae
10.  Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis in Alberta pre- and postintroduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 
The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, microbiology and outcomes of patients of all ages with Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis between 2000 and 2004; two years pre- and postintroduction of an S pneumoniae 7-valent conjugate vaccine program in Alberta in children younger than two years of age. The high mortality rate associated with S pneumoniae meningitis, despite appropriate therapy, suggests that prevention of S pneumoniae meningitis is critical. Despite implementation of a PCV-7 program in Alberta, rates of S pneumoniae meningitis in children younger than two years of age is still high. Thus, continued research into safe and efficacious vaccines covering a broader range of S pneumoniae serotypes is necessary.
To describe the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, microbiology and outcomes of patients of all ages with Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis two years pre- and postintroduction of a S pneumoniae 7-valent conjugate vaccine program in Alberta in children <2 years of age.
Between 2000 and 2004, all cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in Alberta were identified. From this cohort, patients with S pneumoniae meningitis were identified by chart review. Clinical data, laboratory data and in-hospital outcomes were collected.
Of the 1768 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease identified between 2000 and 2004, 110 (6.2%) had S pneumoniae meningitis. The overall incidence was 0.7 per 100,000 persons and remained unchanged over the study period. The rate in children <2 years of age appeared to fall over time, from 10.5 per 100,000 persons in 2000 to five per 100,000 persons in 2004, although there was insufficient evidence of a statistically significant time trend within any age group. Overall, the mean age was 30 years and 47% were male. In-hospital mortality was 20%, ranging from 6% in those ≤2 years of age to 31% for those ≥18 years of age, despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy.
The high mortality rate associated with S pneumoniae meningitis suggests that prevention by vaccination is critical. In children <2 years of age, there was a downward trend in the rate of S pneumoniae meningitis after implementation of the S pneumoniae 7-valent conjugate vaccine program, but rates were still high.
PMCID: PMC3222760  PMID: 23205025
Conjugate; Meningitis; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Vaccine
11.  Pneumococcal Serotypes and Mortality following Invasive Pneumococcal Disease: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(5):e1000081.
Analyzing population-based data collected over 30 years in more than 18,000 patients with invasive pneumococcal infection, Zitta Harboe and colleagues find specific pneumococcal serotypes to be associated with increased mortality.
Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between specific pneumococcal serotypes and mortality from invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD).
Methods and Findings
In a nationwide population-based cohort study of IPD in Denmark during 1977–2007, 30-d mortality associated with pneumococcal serotypes was examined by multivariate logistic regression analysis after controlling for potential confounders. A total of 18,858 IPD patients were included. Overall 30-d mortality was 18%, and 3% in children younger than age 5 y. Age, male sex, meningitis, high comorbidity level, alcoholism, and early decade of diagnosis were significantly associated with mortality. Among individuals aged 5 y and older, serotypes 31, 11A, 35F, 17F, 3, 16F, 19F, 15B, and 10A were associated with highly increased mortality as compared with serotype 1 (all: adjusted odds ratio ≥3, p<0.001). In children younger than 5 y, associations between serotypes and mortality were different than in adults but statistical precision was limited because of low overall childhood-related mortality.
Specific pneumococcal serotypes strongly and independently affect IPD associated mortality.
Editors' Summary
Pneumococcal diseases—illnesses caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria—are leading causes of illness and death around the world. S. pneumoniae is transmitted through contact with infected respiratory secretions and usually causes noninvasive diseases such as ear infections and bronchitis. Sometimes, however, the bacteria invade the lungs (where they cause pneumonia), the bloodstream (where they cause bacteremia), or the covering of the brain (where they cause meningitis). These invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPDs) are often fatal. One million children die annually from pneumococcal disease, many of them in developing countries. In the developed world, however, IPDs mainly affect elderly people and patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and alcoholism. Although pneumococcal diseases can sometimes be treated successfully with antibiotics, many patients die or develop long-term complications. Consequently, vaccination with “pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine” (PPV) is recommended for everyone over 65 years old and for people between 2 and 65 years old who are at high risk of developing IPD; vaccination with “pneumococcal conjugate vaccine” (PCV) is recommended for children younger than 2 years old who are at high risk of IPDs.
Why Was This Study Done?
S. pneumoniae is not a single organism. There are actually more than 90 S. pneumoniae variants or “serotypes.” These variants are coated with different polysaccharides (complex sugar molecules) that are, in part, responsible for the deleterious effects of S. pneumonia infections. The same molecules also trigger the human immune response that kills the bacteria. Consequently, pneumococcal vaccines contain polysaccharide mixtures isolated from the S. pneumoniae serotypes responsible for most pneumococcal disease. But are these serotypes also responsible for most of the deaths caused by IPD? Until now, the few studies that have investigated the association between S. pneumoniae serotypes and death from IPD have yielded conflicting results. Here, therefore, the researchers undertook a large population-based study to discover whether there is an association between specific pneumococcal serotypes and death following IPD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers linked data on the serotype of S. pneumoniae isolates sent to the Danish National Neisseria and Streptococcus Reference Center between 1977 and 2007 with clinical data from national medical databases. After allowing for other factors that might affect a person's likelihood of dying from IPD (for example, age and other illnesses), the researchers used multivariate logistic regression analysis (a statistical approach) to look for associations between S. pneumoniae serotypes and death within 30 days of admission to hospital for pneumococcal bacteremia or meningitis. Overall, 18% of the nearly 19,000 people included in this analysis died within 30 days of hospital admission; among the children younger than 5 years included in the study, the death rate was 3%. Among patients 5 years old or older, nine S. pneumoniae serotypes were associated with a more than 3-fold higher death rate (mostly from bacteremia) than serotype 1, the most common serotype isolated during the study. Interestingly, in young children, a different set of serotypes seemed to be associated with death. However, because so few children died from IPD, this result is statistically uncertain. The researchers' results also show that age, gender, having meningitis, having other illnesses, and alcoholism all affected a patient's chances of dying from IPD.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that specific pneumococcal serotypes strongly affect the likelihood that a person aged 5 years or over will die within 30 days of admission to hospital with IPD. Importantly, unlike previous studies, this study was large and comprehensive—the Danish surveillance center covers more than 90% of the Danish population—and the researchers carefully took other factors into account that might have affected a patient's chances of dying from IPD. Thus, these new insights into which pneumococcal serotypes are most deadly could help in the design of new pneumococcal vaccines, at least for people aged 5 years or older. For younger children, however, the results are not as informative and a similar study now needs to be done in developing countries, where more young people die from IPD.
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 disease
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides background information on pneumococcal disease
The GAVI's Pneumococcal Vaccines Accelerated Development and Introduction Plan focuses on pneumococcal vaccines for children
PMCID: PMC2680036  PMID: 19468297
12.  Epidemiology and outcome of severe pneumococcal pneumonia admitted to intensive care unit: a multicenter study 
Critical Care  2012;16(4):R155.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) account for a high proportion of ICU admissions, with Streptococcus pneumoniae being the main pathogen responsible for these infections. However, little is known on the clinical features and outcomes of ICU patients with pneumococcal pneumonia. The aims of this study were to provide epidemiological data and to determine risk factors of mortality in patients admitted to ICU for severe S. pneumoniae CAP.
We performed a retrospective review of two prospectively-acquired multicentre ICU databases (2001-2008). Patients admitted for management of severe pneumococcal CAP were enrolled if they met the 2001 American Thoracic Society criteria for severe pneumonia, had life-threatening organ failure and had a positive microbiological sample for S. pneumoniae. Patients with bronchitis, aspiration pneumonia or with non-pulmonary pneumococcal infections were excluded.
Two hundred and twenty two patients were included, with a median SAPS II score reaching 47 [36-64]. Acute respiratory failure (n = 154) and septic shock (n = 54) were their most frequent causes of ICU admission. Septic shock occurred in 170 patients (77%) and mechanical ventilation was required in 186 patients (84%); renal replacement therapy was initiated in 70 patients (32%). Bacteraemia was diagnosed in 101 patients. The prevalence of S. pneumoniae strains with decreased susceptibility to penicillin was 39.7%. Although antibiotherapy was adequate in 92.3% of cases, hospital mortality reached 28.8%. In multivariate analysis, independent risk factors for mortality were age (OR 1.05 (95% CI: 1.02-1.08)), male sex (OR 2.83 (95% CI: 1.16-6.91)) and renal replacement therapy (OR 3.78 (95% CI: 1.71-8.36)). Co-morbidities, macrolide administration, concomitant bacteremia or penicillin susceptibility did not influence outcome.
In ICU, mortality of pneumococcal CAP remains high despite adequate antimicrobial treatment. Baseline demographic data and renal replacement therapy have a major impact on adverse outcome.
PMCID: PMC3580745  PMID: 22894879
13.  Prior outpatient antibiotic use as predictor for microbial aetiology of community-acquired pneumonia: hospital-based study 
The causative micro-organism in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is often difficult to predict. Different studies have examined chronic morbidity and clinical symptoms as predictors for microbial aetiology of pneumonia. The aim of our study was to assess whether prior outpatient antimicrobial treatment is predictive for determining the microbial aetiology of CAP.
This was a hospital-based prospective observational study including all patients admitted with CAP between 1 October 2004 and 1 August 2006. Microbial investigations included sputum, blood culture, sputum PCR, antigen testing and serology. Exposure to antimicrobial drugs prior to hospital admission was ascertained through community pharmacy dispensing records. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess whether prior outpatient antimicrobial treatment is a predictor of microbial aetiology. Patient demographics, co-morbidities and pneumonia severity were considered to be other potential predictors.
Overall, 201 patients were included in the study. The microbial aetiology was determined in 64% of the patients. The five most prevalent pathogens were Streptococcus pneumoniae, Heamophilus influenzae, Legionella spp., Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Influenza virus A+B. Forty-seven of the patients (23%) had received initial antimicrobial treatment as outpatients. Multivariate analyses revealed that initial outpatient beta-lactam treatment was associated with a threefold increased chance of finding atypical pathogens and a threefold decreased probability of pneumococcal infection; the corresponding odds ratios were 3.51 (95% CI 1.25–9.99) and 0.30 (95% CI 0.10–0.90), respectively. Patients who received macrolides prior to hospitalisation had an increased probability of viral pneumonia.
Prior outpatient antimicrobial therapy has a predictive value in the diagnostic workup aimed at identifying the causative pathogen and planning corresponding antimicrobial treatment in patients hospitalised for pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC2254473  PMID: 18060396
Aetiology; Antibiotics; Diagnosis; Outcome assessment; Pneumonia
14.  The burden of bacteremia and invasive diseases in children aged less than five years with fever in Italy 
Invasive diseases (ID) caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae), Haemophilus influenzae (H. influenzae), and Neisseria meningitidis are a major public health problem worldwide. Comprehensive data on the burden of bacteremia and ID in Italy, including data based on molecular techniques, are needed.
We conducted a prospective, multi-centre, hospital-based study (GSK study identifier: 111334) to assess the burden of bacteremia and ID among children less than five years old with a fever of 39 °C or greater. Study participation involved a single medical examination, collection of blood for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and blood culture, and collection of an oropharyngeal swab for colonization analysis by PCR.
Between May 2008 and June 2009, 4536 patients were screened, 944 were selected and 920 were enrolled in the study. There were 225 clinical diagnoses of ID, 9.8 % (22) of which were bacteremic. A diagnosis of sepsis was made for 38 cases, 5.3 % (2) of which were bacteremic. Among the 629 non-ID diagnoses, 1.6 % (10) were bacteremic. Among the 34 bacteremic cases, the most common diagnoses were community-acquired pneumonia (15/34), pleural effusion (4/34) and meningitis (4/34). S. pneumoniae was the most frequently detected bacteria among bacteremic cases (29/34) followed by H. influenzae (3/34). Ninety percent (27/30) of bacteremic patients with oropharyngeal swab results were colonized with the studied bacterial pathogens compared to 46.1 % (402/872) of non-bacteremic cases (p < 0.001). PCV7 (7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) vaccination was reported for 55.9 % (19/34) of bacteremic cases. S. pneumoniae serotypes were non-vaccine serotypes in children who had been vaccinated. Mean duration of hospitalization was longer for bacteremic cases versus non-bacteremic cases (13.6 versus 5.8 days).
These results confirm that S. pneumoniae is one of the pathogens frequently responsible for invasive disease.
PMCID: PMC4654905  PMID: 26589787
Fever; Invasive disease; Bacteremia; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Haemophilus influenzae; Pneumococcal vaccine
15.  Cardiac Complications in Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(6):e1001048.
Vicente Corrales-Medina and colleagues report estimates of the risk of cardiac complications among patients with community-acquired pneumonia from a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. CAP can trigger acute cardiac events. We sought to determine the incidence of major cardiac complications in CAP patients to characterize the magnitude of this problem.
Methods and Findings
Two investigators searched MEDLINE, Scopus, and EMBASE for observational studies of immunocompetent adults with clinical and radiological evidence of CAP that reported any of the following: overall cardiac complications, incident heart failure, acute coronary syndromes (ACS), or incident cardiac arrhythmias occurring within 30 days of CAP diagnosis. At a minimum, studies had to establish enrolment procedures and inclusion and exclusion criteria, enrol their patients sequentially, and report the incidence of cardiac complications as a function of their entire cohorts. Studies with focus on nosocomial or health care–associated pneumonia were not included. Review of 2,176 citations yielded 25 articles that met eligibility and minimum quality criteria. Seventeen articles (68%) reported cohorts of CAP inpatients. In this group, the pooled incidence rates for overall cardiac complications (six cohorts, 2,119 patients), incident heart failure (eights cohorts, 4,215 patients), acute coronary syndromes (six cohorts, 2,657 patients), and incident cardiac arrhythmias (six cohorts, 2,596 patients), were 17.7% (confidence interval [CI] 13.9–22.2), 14.1% (9.3–20.6), 5.3% (3.2–8.6), and 4.7% (2.4–8.9), respectively. One article reported cardiac complications in CAP outpatients, four in low-risk (not severely ill) inpatients, and three in high-risk inpatients. The incidences for all outcomes except overall cardiac complications were lower in the two former groups and higher in the latter. One additional study reported on CAP outpatients and low-risk inpatients without discriminating between these groups. Twelve studies (48%) asserted the evaluation of cardiac complications in their methods but only six (24%) provided a definition for them. Only three studies, all examining ACS, carried out risk factor analysis for these events. No study analyzed the association between cardiac complications and other medical complications or their impact on other CAP outcomes.
Major cardiac complications occur in a substantial proportion of patients with CAP. Physicians and patients need to appreciate the significance of this association for timely recognition and management of these events. Strategies aimed at preventing pneumonia (i.e., influenza and pneumococcal vaccination) in high-risk populations need to be optimized. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying this association, measure the impact of cardiac complications on other CAP outcomes, identify those patients with CAP at high risk of developing cardiac complications, and design strategies to prevent their occurrence in this population.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), that is, pneumonia infections contracted outside of hospital or health care settings, is a common condition and can be fatal, particularly to older people. For example, every year, an estimated 5–6 million people contract this form of pneumonia in the US, leading to 1.1 million people being admitted to hospitals and causing 60,000 deaths—the most frequent cause of infectious disease-related mortality. In the US for example, more than half of older patients who present to the hospital with CAP have preexisting chronic cardiac conditions—an important fact given that acute infections, such as CAP, can affect the cardiovascular system in various ways and precipitate acute cardiac events, such as heart failure, heart attacks, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although it is bio-medically plausible that a considerable proportion of patients with CAP have cardiac complications, systematic data on the scale of this potential problem are lacking—a concerning omission given the important implications for health policy-making and direct patient care. Therefore, in this study, the researchers conducted a systematic review to examine the published literature on cardiac complications in patients with CAP in order to characterize the nature and significance of this association, and to identify areas that require further research and investigation.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched MEDLINE, Scopus, and EMBASE for all relevant articles published in English, French, or Spanish languages until June 2010. The researchers used strict criteria to select appropriate articles (such as radiographic evidence of CAP) and only selected studies that had outcomes of the incidence of cardiac complications, such as incident (new or worsening) heart failure, acute coronary syndromes (acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina), and incident cardiac arrhythmias within 30 days of diagnosis of CAP.
Using these methods, the researchers identified 2,176 articles for review and selected 25 eligible papers for their analysis. Seventeen articles (68%) reported cohorts of CAP inpatients. In this group, the pooled incidence rates of overall cardiac complications (six cohorts, 2,119 patients), incident heart failure (eight cohorts, 4,215 patients), acute coronary syndromes (six cohorts, 2,657 patients), and incident cardiac arrhythmias (six cohorts, 2,596 patients), were 17.7%, 14.1%, 5.3%, and 4.7% respectively. Only three studies, (all of acute coronary syndromes) did risk factor analysis for these events. Possible risk factors identified included older age, preexisting congestive heart failure, severity of pneumonia, and the use of insulin by glucose sliding scales in hospitalized patients. No study analyzed the association between cardiac complications and other medical complications (such as acute renal failure, respiratory failure, shock, etc.) or their impact on other outcomes, such as death, in patients with CAP.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although limited to a mostly descriptive analysis, these findings clearly show that major cardiac complications occur in a significant proportion of patients with CAP, especially in those admitted to hospital. These findings have important clinical and public health implications. Clinicians should be more aware of the significance of the association between CAP and cardiac complications to better inform, treat, and manage patients. Physicians and health officials need to increase efforts to optimize the rates of influenza and pneumococcal vaccination among older people and those with chronic cardiac conditions to reduce the incidence of CAP in these high-risk populations. There needs to be more consideration given to the potential impact of cardiac complications on mortality and costs associated with CAP. Finally, these findings highlight the need for prospective, well-designed, and adequately powered studies of cardiac complications in patients with CAP. More research attention should be given to this important area in order to improve the outcomes for patients with CAP and to decrease the consequent burden on health care systems through recognition of risk, prevention, and intervention on acute cardiac complications.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information can be found on Wikipedia on community-acquired pneumonia (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control provide patient information on community-acquired pneumonia
The American Heart Association provides information on heart failure, acute coronary syndromes, and arrhythmias
PMCID: PMC3125176  PMID: 21738449
16.  Pneumococcal Aetiology and Serotype Distribution in Paediatric Community-Acquired Pneumonia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89013.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a major cause of morbidity in children. This study estimated the proportion of children with pneumococcal CAP among children hospitalised with CAP in Belgium and describes the causative serotype distribution after implementation of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Children 0–14 years hospitalised with X-ray-confirmed CAP were prospectively enrolled in a multicentre observational study. Acute and convalescent blood samples were collected. Pneumococcal aetiology was assessed by conventional methods (blood or pleural fluid cultures with Quellung reaction capsular typing or polymerase chain reaction [PCR] in pleural fluid), and recently developed methods (real-time PCR in blood and World Health Organization-validated serotype-specific serology). A total of 561 children were enrolled. Pneumococcal aetiology was assessed by conventional methods in 539, serology in 171, and real-time PCR in blood in 154. Pneumococcal aetiology was identified in 12.2% (66/539) of the children by conventional methods alone but in 73.9% by the combination of conventional and recently developed methods. The pneumococcal detection rate adjusted for the whole study population was 61.7%. Serotypes 1 (42.3%), 5 (16.0%), and 7F(7A) (12.8%) were predominant. In conclusion, Streptococcus pneumoniae remains the predominant bacteria in children hospitalised for CAP in Belgium after implementation of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, with non-vaccine-serotypes accounting for the majority of cases. The use of recently developed methods improves diagnosis of pneumococcal aetiology.
PMCID: PMC3928328  PMID: 24558464
17.  Serotype Distribution, Antimicrobial Susceptibility, and Molecular Epidemiology of Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolated from Children in Shanghai, China 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0142892.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common pathogenic cause of pediatric infections. This study investigated the serotype distribution, antimicrobial susceptibility, and molecular epidemiology of pneumococci before the introduction of conjugate vaccines in Shanghai, China.
A total of 284 clinical pneumococcal isolates (270, 5, 4,3, and 2 of which were isolated from sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, blood, cerebral spinal fluid, and ear secretions, respectively) from children less than 14 years of age who had not been vaccinated with a conjugate vaccine, were collected between January and December in 2013. All isolates were serotyped by multiplex polymerase chain reaction or quellung reactions and antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed using the broth microdilution method. The molecular epidemiology of S.pneumoniae was analyzed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST).
Among the 284 pneumococcal isolates, 19F (33.5%), 19A (14.1%), 23F (12.0%), and 6A (8.8%) were the most common serotypes and the coverage rates of the 7-, 10-, and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV7, PCV10, and PCV13) were 58.6%, 59.4% and 85.1%, respectively. Antimicrobial susceptibility showed that the prevalence rates of S.pneumoniae resistance to penicillin were 11.3% (32/284). Approximately 88.0% (250/284) of the isolates exhibited multi-drug resistance. MLST analysis revealed a high level of diversity, with 65 sequence types (STs) among 267 isolates. Specifically, the four predominant STs were ST271 (24.3%, 65/267), ST320 (11.2%, 30/267), ST81 (9.7%, 26/267), and ST3173 (5.2%, 14/267), which were mainly associated with serotypes 19F, 19A, 23F, and 6A, respectively.
The prevalent serotypes among clinical isolates from children were 19F, 19A, 23F, and 6A and these isolates showed high resistance rates to β-lactams and macrolides. The Taiwan19F-14 clone played a predominant role in the dissemination of pneumococcal isolates in Shanghai, China. Therefore, continued and regional surveillance on pneumococcal isolates may be necessary.
PMCID: PMC4646667  PMID: 26571373
18.  Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae in paediatric meningitis patients at Goroka General Hospital, Papua New Guinea: serotype distribution and antimicrobial susceptibility in the pre-vaccine era 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:485.
Bacterial meningitis remains an important infection globally, with the greatest burden in children in low-income settings, including Papua New Guinea (PNG). We present serotype, antimicrobial susceptibility and outcome data from paediatric meningitis patients prior to introduction of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) in PNG, providing a baseline for evaluation of immunisation programs.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was collected from children admitted to Goroka General Hospital with suspected meningitis between 1996 and 2005. Culture and sensitivity was conducted, and pneumococci and H. influenzae were serotyped. Laboratory findings were linked to clinical outcomes.
We enrolled 1884 children. A recognised pathogen was identified in 375 children (19.9 %). Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 180) and Hib (n = 153) accounted for 88.8 % of pathogens isolated. 24 different pneumococcal serogroups were identified; non-PCV types 2, 24 and 46 accounted for 31.6 % of pneumococcal meningitis. 10- and 13-valent PCVs would cover 44.1 % and 45.4 % of pneumococcal meningitis respectively. Pneumococcal isolates were commonly resistant to penicillin (21.5 %) and 23 % of Hib isolates were simultaneously resistant to ampicillin, co-trimoxazole and chloramphenicol. The case fatality rate in patients with a recognised bacterial pathogen was 13.4 % compared to 8.5 % in culture-negative patients.
If implemented in routine expanded programme of immunisation (EPI) with high coverage, current PCVs could prevent almost half of pneumococcal meningitis cases. Given the diversity of circulating serotypes in PNG serotype replacement is of concern. Ongoing surveillance is imperative to monitor the impact of vaccines. In the longer term vaccines providing broader protection against pneumococcal meningitis will be needed.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-015-1197-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4628371  PMID: 26521138
Meningitis; Low-income; Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
19.  Differences upon admission and in hospital course of children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia with or without radiologically-confirmed pneumonia: a retrospective cohort study 
BMC Pediatrics  2015;15:166.
The use of chest radiograph (CXR) for the diagnosis of childhood community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is controversial. We assessed if children with CAP diagnosed on clinical grounds, with or without radiologically-confirmed pneumonia on admission, evolved differently.
Children aged ≥ 2 months, hospitalized with CAP diagnosed on clinical grounds, treated with 200,000 IU/Kg/day of aqueous penicillin G for ≥ 48 h and with CXR taken upon admission, without pleural effusion, were included in this retrospective cohort. One researcher, blinded to the radiological diagnosis, collected data on demographics, clinical history and physical examination on admission, daily hospital course during the first 2 days of treatment, and outcome, all from medical charts. Radiological confirmation of pneumonia was based on presence of pulmonary infiltrate detected by a paediatric radiologist who was also blinded to clinical data. Variables were initially compared by bivariate analysis. Multi-variable logistic regression analysis assessed independent association between radiologically-confirmed pneumonia and factors which significantly differed during hospital course in the bivariate analysis. The multi-variable analysis was performed in a model adjusted for age and for the same factor present upon admission.
109 (38.5 %) children had radiologically-confirmed pneumonia, 143 (50.5 %) had normal CXR and 31 (11.0 %) had atelectasis or peribronchial thickening. Children without radiologically-confirmed pneumonia were younger than those with radiologically-confirmed pneumonia (median [IQR]: 14 [7–28 months versus 21 [12–44] months; P = 0.001). None died. The subgroup with radiologically-confirmed pneumonia presented fever on D1 (33.7 vs. 19.1; P = 0.015) and on D2 (31.6 % vs. 16.2 %; P = 0.004) more frequently. The subgroup without radiologically-confirmed pneumonia had chest indrawing on D1 (22.4 % vs. 11.9 %; P = 0.027) more often detected. By multi-variable analysis, Fever on D2 (OR [95 % CI]: 2.16 [1.15-4.06]) was directly and independently associated with radiologically-confirmed pneumonia upon admission.
The compared subgroups evolved differently.
PMCID: PMC4619036  PMID: 26496953
20.  Narrow Vs Broad-spectrum Antimicrobial Therapy for Children Hospitalized With Pneumonia 
Pediatrics  2013;132(5):e1141-e1148.
The 2011 Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society/Infectious Diseases Society of America community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) guideline recommends narrow-spectrum antimicrobial therapy for most children hospitalized with CAP. However, few studies have assessed the effectiveness of this strategy.
Using data from 43 children’s hospitals, we conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare outcomes and resource utilization among children hospitalized with CAP between 2005 and 2011 receiving either parenteral ampicillin/penicillin (narrow spectrum) or ceftriaxone/cefotaxime (broad spectrum). Children with complex chronic conditions, interhospital transfers, recent hospitalization, or the occurrence of any of the following during the first 2 calendar days of hospitalization were excluded: pleural drainage procedure, admission to intensive care, mechanical ventilation, death, or hospital discharge.
Overall, 13 954 children received broad-spectrum therapy (89.7%) and 1610 received narrow-spectrum therapy (10.3%). The median length of stay was 3 days (interquartile range 3–4) in the broad- and narrow-spectrum therapy groups (adjusted difference 0.12 days, 95% confidence interval [CI]: –0.02 to 0.26). One hundred fifty-six children (1.1%) receiving broad-spectrum therapy and 13 children (0.8%) receiving narrow-spectrum therapy were admitted to intensive care (adjusted odds ratio 0.85, 95% CI: 0.27 to 2.73). Readmission occurred for 321 children (2.3%) receiving broad-spectrum therapy and 39 children (2.4%) receiving narrow-spectrum therapy (adjusted odds ratio 0.85, 95% CI: 0.45 to 1.63). Median costs for the hospitalization were $3992 and $4375 (adjusted difference –$14.4, 95% CI: –177.1 to 148.3).
Clinical outcomes and costs for children hospitalized with CAP are not different when treatment is with narrow- compared with broad-spectrum therapy.
PMCID: PMC4530302  PMID: 24167170
pneumonia; antibiotic use; effectiveness; pediatrics
21.  Appropriateness of hospitalization for CAP-affected pediatric patients: report from a Southern Italy General Hospital 
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common disease, responsible for significant healthcare expenditures, mostly because of hospitalization. Many practice guidelines on CAP have been developed, including admission criteria, but a few on appropriate hospitalization in children. The aim of this study was to evaluate appropriate hospital admission for CAP in a pediatric population.
We evaluated appropriate admission to a Pediatric Unit performing a retrospective analysis on CAP admitted pediatric patients from a Southern Italy area. Diagnosis was made based on clinical and radiological signs. Appropriate hospital admission was evaluated following clinical and non-clinical international criteria. Family ability to care children was assessed by evaluating social deprivation status.
In 2 winter seasons 120 pediatric patients aged 1-129 months were admitted because of CAP. Median age was 28.7 months. Raised body temperature was scored in 68.3% of patients, cough was present in 100% of cases, and abdominal pain was rarely evidenced. Inflammatory indices (ESR and CRP) were found elevated in 33.3% of cases. Anti-Mycoplasma pneumoniae antibodies were found positive in 20.4%. Trans-cutaneous (TC) SaO2 was found lower than 92% in 14.6%. Dyspnoea was present in 43.3%. Dehydration requiring i.v. fluid supplementation was scored in 13.3%. Evaluation of familial ability to care their children revealed that 76% of families (derived from socially depressed areas) were "at social risk", thus not able to appropriately care their children. Furthermore, analysis of CAP patients revealed that "at social risk" people accessed E.D. and were hospitalized more frequently than "not at risk" patients (odds ratio = 3.59, 95% CI: 1,15 to 11,12; p = 0.01), and that admitted "at social risk" people presented without clinical signs of severity (namely dyspnoea, and/or SaO2 ≤ 92%, and/or dehydration) more frequently than "not at risk" population (p = 0.005).
Dyspnoea was found to be the main clinical criterion to define an appropriate children admission for CAP. Other more objective evaluation (i.e. oxygen pulse oxymetry) could underestimate the necessity of hospitalization as patients discomfort could be more severe then indicated by TC SaO2. Furthermore, family inability to children care represents the main criterion for hospital admission in our geographic area. It reflects social deprivation status and it should be strongly considered in deciding for children hospital admission.
PMCID: PMC2753332  PMID: 19725971
22.  Distribution of Streptococcus pneumoniae Serotypes That Cause Parapneumonic Empyema in Turkey 
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common etiological cause of complicated pneumonia, including empyema. In this study, we investigated the serotypes of S. pneumoniae that cause empyema in children. One hundred fifty-six children who were diagnosed with pneumonia complicated with empyema in 13 hospitals in seven geographic regions of Turkey between 2010 and 2012 were included in this study. Pleural fluid samples were collected by thoracentesis and tested for 14 serotypes/serogroups using a Bio-Plex multiplex antigen detection assay. The serotypes of S. pneumoniae were specified in 33 of 156 samples. The mean age ± the standard deviation of the 33 patients was 6.17 ± 3.54 years (range, 0.6 to 15 years). All of the children were unvaccinated according to the vaccination reports. Eighteen of the children were male, and 15 were female. The serotypes of the non-7-valent pneumococcal conjugated vaccine (non-PCV-7), serotype 1, serotype 5, and serotype 3, were detected in eight (14.5%), seven (12.7%), and five (9.1%) of the samples, respectively. Serotypes 1 and 5 were codetected in two samples. The remaining non-PCV-7 serotypes were 8 (n = 3), 18 (n = 1), 19A (n = 1), and 7F/A (n = 1). PCV-7 serotypes 6B, 9V, 14, 19F, and 23F were detected in nine (16.3%) of the samples. The potential serotype coverages of PCV-7, PCV-10, and PCV-13 were 16.3%, 45.4%, and 60%, respectively. Pediatric parapneumonic empyema continues to be an important health problem despite the introduction of conjugated pneumococcal vaccines. Active surveillance studies are needed to monitor the change in S. pneumoniae serotypes that cause empyema in order to have a better selection of pneumococcal vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3697447  PMID: 23637041
23.  Carriage of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in the Upper Respiratory Tract of Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Children: An Observational Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001444.
In order to determine the possible asymptomatic carriage of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in the upper respiratory tracts of children, Emiel Spuesens and colleagues investigate the prevalence of M. pneumoniae in symptomatic and asymptomatic children at a hospital in The Netherlands.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is thought to be a common cause of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in children. The diagnosis of M. pneumoniae RTIs currently relies on serological methods and/or the detection of bacterial DNA in the upper respiratory tract (URT). It is conceivable, however, that these diagnostic methods also yield positive results if M. pneumoniae is carried asymptomatically in the URT. Positive results from these tests may therefore not always be indicative of a symptomatic infection. The existence of asymptomatic carriage of M. pneumoniae has not been established. We hypothesized that asymptomatic carriage in children exists and investigated whether colonization and symptomatic infection could be differentiated by current diagnostic methods.
Methods and Findings
This study was conducted at the Erasmus MC–Sophia Children's Hospital and the after-hours General Practitioners Cooperative in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Asymptomatic children (n = 405) and children with RTI symptoms (n = 321) aged 3 mo to 16 y were enrolled in a cross-sectional study from July 1, 2008, to November 30, 2011. Clinical data, pharyngeal and nasopharyngeal specimens, and serum samples were collected. The primary objective was to differentiate between colonization and symptomatic infection with M. pneumoniae by current diagnostic methods, especially real-time PCR. M. pneumoniae DNA was detected in 21.2% (95% CI 17.2%–25.2%) of the asymptomatic children and in 16.2% (95% CI 12.2%–20.2%) of the symptomatic children (p = 0.11). Neither serology nor quantitative PCR nor culture differentiated asymptomatic carriage from infection. A total of 202 children were tested for the presence of other bacterial and viral pathogens. Two or more pathogens were found in 56% (63/112) of the asymptomatic children and in 55.5% (50/90) of the symptomatic children. Finally, longitudinal sampling showed persistence of M. pneumoniae in the URT for up to 4 mo. Fifteen of the 21 asymptomatic children with M. pneumoniae and 19 of the 22 symptomatic children with M. pneumoniae in this longitudinal follow-up tested negative after 1 mo.
Although our study has limitations, such as a single study site and limited sample size, our data indicate that the presence of M. pneumoniae in the URT is common in asymptomatic children. The current diagnostic tests for M. pneumoniae are unable to differentiate between asymptomatic carriage and symptomatic infection.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Pneumonia (a form of acute respiratory infection) is the single largest cause of death in children worldwide, killing an estimated 1.2 million children aged five and under every year, particularly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In these settings, bacterial infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae are the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia. However, in high-income settings, bacterial infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a major cause of upper and lower respiratory tract infections in children: over one-third of childhood cases of community-acquired pneumonia that require admission to a hospital are caused by M. pneumoniae. Currently, diagnosis of M. pneumoniae infections relies on the detection of antibodies against M. pneumoniae in the blood or detection of bacterial DNA in samples from the upper respiratory tract through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
Why Was This Study Done?
Other bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, are commonly present in children without causing infection, a situation known as asymptomatic carriage. However, to date, it is unknown whether M. pneumoniae is also commonly carried in the upper respiratory tract of children without causing symptoms or leading to infection. The possibility of asymptomatic carriage of M. pneumoniae could have major implications for the interpretation of the results of diagnostic tests and also for clinical management. So in this study conducted in The Netherlands, the researchers investigated whether asymptomatic carriage of M. pneumoniae exists and also whether symptomatic infection could be differentiated from asymptomatic carriage by current diagnostic methods.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 2008 and 2011, the researchers recruited children aged between three months and 16 years attending a hospital in Rotterdam for an elective surgical procedure (asymptomatic group) or admitted with a respiratory tract infection (symptomatic group). All children had blood tests and respiratory samples (nasopharyngeal swab) taken on admission and were tested for other pathogens. The researchers invited children who tested positive for M. pneumoniae by PCR to attend for further follow-up and tested them monthly for the presence of M. pneumoniae DNA in the upper respiratory tract until the test was negative on two occasions. Using these methods, the researchers recruited 726 children over the study period—405 in the asymptomatic group and 321 in the symptomatic group. The researchers found that the prevalence of M. pneumoniae did not differ between the asymptomatic group and the symptomatic group, with prevalences of 21.2% and 16.2%, respectively (the prevalence of M. pneumoniae also did not differ significantly between those with lower versus upper respiratory infection). There were also no differences in prevalence in the asymptomatic and symptomatic groups when diagnosed using blood tests. The researchers found a high rate of multiple, coexisting bacterial and viral pathogens in both asymptomatic and symptomatic children: two or more pathogens were found in 56% (63/112) of the asymptomatic children and in 55.5% (50/90) of the symptomatic children. Furthermore, season and the year of enrollment affected the prevalence of M. pneumoniae in the asymptomatic group, ranging from 3% during the spring of 2009 to 58% during the summer of 2010. Finally, of the 21 children from the asymptomatic group who participated in the follow-up study, 15 (71%) tested negative within one month, and in the symptomatic group, 19 of 22 children (86%) tested negative after the first visit.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that M. pneumoniae is carried at high rates in the upper respiratory tracts of healthy children, and that this asymptomatic carriage cannot be differentiated from symptomatic respiratory tract infection by diagnostic tests (serology or PCR). As the prevalence of M. pneumoniae varied between year and season, carriage of M. pneumoniae may follow a cyclic epidemic pattern. This study is from a single study site in one city in The Netherlands, with a relatively small number of children, and so these findings may not be generalizable to other populations. However, as this study suggests that current diagnostic tests do not discriminate between carriage and infection, clinicians may need to reconsider the clinical significance of a positive test result. Future studies are needed to address this diagnostic challenge and also to investigate possible factors that may affect the progression of asymptomatic carriage of M. pneumoniae to symptomatic infection.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
MicrobeWiki has more information on M. pneumoniae
Lab Tests Online explains current tests for M. pneumoniae
PMCID: PMC3653782  PMID: 23690754
24.  Pro-adrenomedullin usefulness in the management of children with community-acquired pneumonia, a preliminar prospective observational study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:363.
In adult population with community acquired pneumonia high levels of pro-adrenomedullin (pro-ADM) have been shown to be predictors of worse prognosis. The role of this biomarker in pediatric patients had not been analyzed to date. The objective of this study is to know the levels of pro-ADM in children with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) and analyze the relation between these levels and the patients’ prognosis.
Prospective observational study including patients attended in the emergency service (January to October 2009) admitted to hospital with CAP and no complications at admission. The values for pro-ADM were analyzed in relation to: need for oxygen therapy, duration of oxygen therapy, fever and antibiotic therapy, complications, admission to the intensive care unit, and length of hospital stay. Fifty patients were included. Ten presented complications (7 pleural effusion). The median level of pro-ADM was 1.0065 nmol/L (range 0.3715 to 7.2840 nmol/L). The patients presenting complications had higher levels of pro-ADM (2.3190 vs. 1.1758 nmol/L, p = 0.013). Specifically, the presence of pleural effusion was associated with higher levels of pro-ADM (2.9440 vs. 1.1373 nmol/L, p < 0.001).
In our sample of patients admitted to hospital with CAP, pro-ADM levels are related to the development of complications during hospitalization.
PMCID: PMC3431981  PMID: 22818355
Pro-adrenomedullin; Pneumonia; Children
25.  Clinical picture of community-acquired Chlamydia pneumoniae pneumonia requiring hospital treatment: a comparison between chlamydial and pneumococcal pneumonia. 
Thorax  1996;51(2):185-189.
BACKGROUND: The importance of Chlamydia pneumoniae as a cause of pneumonia has remained controversial. The clinical picture of C pneumoniae and Streptococcus pneumoniae in patients admitted to hospital with community-acquired pneumonia was compared during a C pneumoniae epidemic in Finland. METHODS: Group I consisted of 24 patients in whom serological testing and bacterial culture indicated an association with C pneumoniae only, group II comprised nine patients with both C pneumoniae and S pneumoniae, and group III consisted of 13 patients with S pneumoniae only. RESULTS: The patients with C pneumoniae suffered from headache more frequently than the other patients (group I, 46%; group II, 11%; and group III, 15%) and had received antimicrobial treatment more often before admission to hospital (group I, 54%; groups II and III, 0%). The patients with C pneumoniae produced few good sputum samples and had suffered from respiratory symptoms longer than those with S pneumoniae (group I, 10 days; groups II and III, 4 days). C reactive protein values on admission were lowest in group I and highest in group II. The antimicrobial treatment provided in hospital covered C pneumoniae in 36% of cases in group I and 0% in group II, while S pneumoniae was covered in all patients. C pneumoniae and S pneumoniae together were associated with more severe disease and a longer stay in hospital. CONCLUSIONS: Pneumonia caused by C pneumoniae was milder but clinically resembled that caused by S pneumoniae, and required hospital treatment even among young patients. Mixed infections were common and should be taken into account when planning antimicrobial treatment for community-acquired pneumonia. Further studies with more patients are needed to evaluate the severity of C pneumoniae pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC473034  PMID: 8711653

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