We sought to measure trends in Streptococcus pneumoniae (SP) carriage and antibiotic resistance in young children in Massachusetts communities after widespread adoption of heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and before the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13).
We conducted a cross-sectional study including collection of questionnaire data and nasopharyngeal specimens among children <7 years in primary care practices from 8 Massachusetts communities during the winter season of 2008–9 and compared with to similar studies performed in 2001, 2003–4, and 2006–7. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing and serotyping were performed on pneumococcal isolates, and risk factors for colonization in recent seasons (2006–07 and 2008–09) were evaluated.
We collected nasopharyngeal specimens from 1,011 children, 290 (29%) of whom were colonized with pneumococcus. Non-PCV7 serotypes accounted for 98% of pneumococcal isolates, most commonly 19A (14%), 6C (11%), and 15B/C (11%). In 2008–09, newly-targeted PCV13 serotypes accounted for 20% of carriage isolates and 41% of penicillin non-susceptible S. pneumoniae (PNSP). In multivariate models, younger age, child care, young siblings, and upper respiratory illness remained predictors of pneumococcal carriage, despite near-complete serotype replacement. Only young age and child care were significantly associated with PNSP carriage.
Serotype replacement post-PCV7 is essentially complete and has been sustained in young children, with the relatively virulent 19A being the most common serotype. Predictors of carriage remained similar despite serotype replacement. PCV13 may reduce 19A and decrease antibiotic-resistant strains, but monitoring for new serotype replacement is warranted.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; antibiotic resistance; serotype; colonization
Low absolute humidity (AH) has been associated with increased influenza virus survival and transmissibility and the onset of seasonal influenza outbreaks. Humidification of indoor environments may mitigate viral transmission and may be an important control strategy, particularly in schools where viral transmission is common and contributes to the spread of influenza in communities. However, the variability and predictors of AH in the indoor school environment and the feasibility of classroom humidification to levels that could decrease viral survival have not been studied.
Automated sensors were used to measure temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in two Minnesota grade schools without central humidification during two successive winters. Outdoor AH measurements were derived from the North American Land Data Assimilation System. Variability in indoor AH within classrooms, between classrooms in the same school, and between schools was assessed using concordance correlation coefficients (CCC). Predictors of indoor AH were examined using time-series Auto-Regressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity models. Classroom humidifiers were used when school was not in session to assess the feasibility of increasing indoor AH to levels associated with decreased influenza virus survival, as projected from previously published animal experiments.
AH varied little within classrooms (CCC >0.90) but was more variable between classrooms in the same school (CCC 0.81 for School 1, 0.88 for School 2) and between schools (CCC 0.81). Indoor AH varied widely during the winter (range 2.60 to 10.34 millibars [mb]) and was strongly associated with changes in outdoor AH (p < 0.001). Changes in indoor AH on school weekdays were strongly associated with CO2 levels (p < 0.001). Over 4 hours, classroom humidifiers increased indoor AH by 4 mb, an increase sufficient to decrease projected 1-hour virus survival by an absolute value of 30% during winter months.
During winter, indoor AH in non-humidified grade schools varies substantially and often to levels that are very low. Indoor results are predicted by outdoor AH over a season and CO2 levels (which likely reflects human activity) during individual school days. Classroom humidification may be a feasible approach to increase indoor AH to levels that may decrease influenza virus survival and transmission.
Influenza; Humidity; Schools; Climate
The large outbreak of diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 in Europe from May to July 2011 highlighted the potential of a rarely identified E. coli serogroup to cause severe disease. Prior to the outbreak, there were very few reports of disease caused by this pathogen and thus little known of its diversity and evolution. The identification of cases of HUS caused by E. coli O104:H4 in France and Turkey after the outbreak and with no clear epidemiological links raises questions about whether these sporadic cases are derived from the outbreak. Here, we report genome sequences of five independent isolates from these cases and results of a comparative analysis with historical and 2011 outbreak isolates. These analyses revealed that the five isolates are not derived from the outbreak strain; however, they are more closely related to the outbreak strain and each other than to isolates identified prior to the 2011 outbreak. Over the short time scale represented by these closely related organisms, the majority of genome variation is found within their mobile genetic elements: none of the nine O104:H4 isolates compared here contain the same set of plasmids, and their prophages and genomic islands also differ. Moreover, the presence of closely related HUS-associated E. coli O104:H4 isolates supports the contention that fully virulent O104:H4 isolates are widespread and emphasizes the possibility of future food-borne E. coli O104:H4 outbreaks.
In the summer of 2011, a large outbreak of bloody diarrhea with a high rate of severe complications took place in Europe, caused by a previously rarely seen Escherichia coli strain of serogroup O104:H4. Identification of subsequent infections caused by E. coli O104:H4 raised questions about whether these new cases represented ongoing transmission of the outbreak strain. In this study, we sequenced the genomes of isolates from five recent cases and compared them with historical isolates. The analyses reveal that, in the very short term, evolution of the bacterial genome takes place in parts of the genome that are exchanged among bacteria, and these regions contain genes involved in adaptation to local environments. We show that these recent isolates are not derived from the outbreak strain but are very closely related and share many of the same disease-causing genes, emphasizing the concern that these bacteria may cause future severe outbreaks.
Background. We assessed the impact of 12 years of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) use on pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage and serotype-specific invasive disease potential among Native Americans.
Methods. Families were enrolled in a carriage study from 2006 to 2008; nasopharyngeal specimens and risk factor information were collected monthly for 7 visits. Pneumococcal carriage prevalence was compared with that before (1998–2000) and during (2001–2002) PCV7 introduction. We compared invasive disease incidence and carriage prevalence before and after PCV7 introduction to estimate changes in serotype-specific invasive potential.
Results. We enrolled 1077 subjects from 302 households. There was an absolute reduction in carriage prevalence of 8.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.5%–11.4%) in children aged <5 years and 3.1% (95% CI, 1.1%–5.1%) in adults. In children aged <5 years, vaccine-serotype carriage prevalence decreased by 22.8% (95% CI, 20.1%–25.3%), and nonvaccine serotype (NVT) increased by 15.9% (95% CI, 12.4%–19.3%). No significant change was detected in serotype-specific invasive potential after PCV7 introduction.
Conclusions. Pneumococcal carriage prevalence decreased in all ages since PCV7 introduction; vaccine-serotype carriage has been nearly eliminated, whereas the prevalence of NVT carriage has increased. The increase in the NVT invasive disease rate seems to be proportional to the increase in colonization prevalence.
Helicobacter pylori seroprevalence levels in US adults participating in the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2000) increased with age in all racial/ethnic groups, with significantly higher age-standardized levels in Mexican Americans (64.0%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 58.8, 69.2) and non-Hispanic blacks (52.0%, 95% CI: 48.3, 55.7) compared with non-Hispanic whites (21.2%, 95% CI: 19.1, 23.2). Although seroprevalence levels remained similar to those found in National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988 to 1991 among non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans, they were significantly lower in non-Hispanic whites, especially at older ages. The factors driving the decline in H. pylori seroprevalence appear to be acting preferentially on the non-Hispanic white population.
cohort effect; ethnic groups; health status disparities; Helicobacter pylori; nutrition surveys; seroepidemiologic studies
Experience with influenza has shown that predictions of virus phenotype or fitness from nucleotide sequence are imperfect, and that predicting the timing and course of evolution is extremely difficult. Such uncertainty means that the risk of experiments with mammalian-transmissible, possibly highly virulent influenza viruses remains high even if some aspects of their laboratory biology are reassuring; it also implies limitations on the ability of laboratory observations to guide interpretation of surveillance of strains in the field. Given these considerations, we propose that future experiments with virulent pathogens whose accidental or deliberate release could lead to extensive spread in human populations should be limited by explicit risk-benefit considerations, in the United States and worldwide.
Vaccination with the protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccine, PCV7, has significantly reduced the burden of pneumococcal disease in populations where it is in widespread use and has had an important public health benefit. This vaccine targets only 7 of the more than 92 pneumococcal serotypes, and there have been concerns that the non-vaccine serotypes (NVTs) could increase in prevalence and reduce the benefits of vaccination. Indeed, among asymptomatic carriers, the prevalence of NVTs has increased substantially, and as a result, there has been little or no net change in the carriage prevalence of the bacteria. In many populations, there has been an increase in pneumococcal disease caused by NVT, but in most cases this increase in NVT disease has been less than the increase in NVT carriage. In this article, we review the evidence for serotype replacement in carriage and disease and address the surveillance biases that might affect these findings. We then discuss possible reasons for the discrepancy between near-complete replacement in carriage and partial replacement for disease, and address the possibility that differences in invasiveness between vaccine serotypes and those causing replacement could contribute to this difference. We contend that the magnitude of serotype replacement in disease can be attributed, in part, to a combination of lower invasiveness of the replacing serotypes, biases in the pre-vaccine carriage data (unmasking), and biases in the disease surveillance systems that could underestimate the true amount of replacement. We conclude by discussing the potential for serotype replacement in disease in the future and the need for ongoing surveillance.
Antigenic variation to evade host immunity has long been assumed to be a driving force of diversifying selection in pathogens. Colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is central to the organism's transmission and therefore evolution, is limited by two arms of the immune system: antibody- and T cell- mediated immunity. In particular, the effector activity of CD4+ TH17 cell mediated immunity has been shown to act in trans, clearing co-colonizing pneumococci that do not bear the relevant antigen. It is thus unclear whether TH17 cell immunity allows benefit of antigenic variation and contributes to diversifying selection. Here we show that antigen-specific CD4+ TH17 cell immunity almost equally reduces colonization by both an antigen-positive strain and a co-colonized, antigen-negative strain in a mouse model of pneumococcal carriage, thus potentially minimizing the advantage of escape from this type of immunity. Using a proteomic screening approach, we identified a list of candidate human CD4+ TH17 cell antigens. Using this list and a previously published list of pneumococcal Antibody antigens, we bioinformatically assessed the signals of diversifying selection among the identified antigens compared to non-antigens. We found that Antibody antigen genes were significantly more likely to be under diversifying selection than the TH17 cell antigen genes, which were indistinguishable from non-antigens. Within the Antibody antigens, epitopes recognized by human antibodies showed stronger evidence of diversifying selection. Taken together, the data suggest that TH17 cell-mediated immunity, one form of T cell immunity that is important to limit carriage of antigen-positive pneumococcus, favors little diversifying selection in the targeted antigen. The results could provide new insight into pneumococcal vaccine design.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in young children and elderly persons worldwide. Current pneumococcus vaccines target a limited number of clinically important serotypes, while strains with serotypes not targeted by current vaccines are increasing in importance in both carriage and invasive disease. As a result, there has been a substantial interest to develop novel, cost-effective vaccines based on protein antigens from pneumococcus. To this end, it is critical to understand how the human immune system exerts selection pressures on the targeted antigens. Two immune mechanisms targeting pneumococcal protein antigens have been documented, mediated by antibody and T cells, respectively. In this study, we screened for pneumococcal antigens that are commonly recognized by human CD4+ TH17 cells. Using a mouse model of pneumococcal colonization, we demonstrate that TH17 cell-based immunity almost equally reduces colonization by both an antigen-positive strain and a co-colonizing, antigen-negative strain. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the DNA sequences of TH17 cell antigens demonstrate no detectable signs of being under selective pressure, unlike pneumococcal antigens known to be strong antibody targets. Thus, one form of the T cell-mediated immunity that is important to limit carriage of antigen-positive pneumococcus favors little diversifying selection in the targeted antigen. These results suggest evolution of escape from TH17 -based vaccines may be slower than from antibody-based vaccines.
If accidentally released, mammalian-transmissible influenza A/H5N1 viruses could pose a greater threat to public health than possibly any other infectious agent currently under study in laboratories, because of such viruses’ likely combination of transmissibility and virulence to humans. We advocate explicit risk-benefit assessments before work on such pathogens is permitted or funded, improvement of biosafety practices and enforcement, and harmonization of criteria for permitting such experiments across government agencies, as well as internationally. Such potential pandemic pathogens, as they have been called, jeopardize not only laboratory workers and their contacts, but also the wider population, who should be involved in assessments of when such risks are acceptable in the service of scientific knowledge that may itself bear major public health benefits.
Despite extensive research on the emergence of and treatments for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), prior studies have not rigorously evaluated the impact of methicillin resistance on the overall incidence of S. aureus infections. Yet, there are direct clinical and research implications of determining whether methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) infection rates remain stable in the face of increasing MRSA prevalence or whether MSSA will be replaced over time. A synthesis of prior studies indicates that the emergence of healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) and community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) has led to an increase in the overall incidence of S. aureus infections, with MRSA principally adding to, rather than replacing, MSSA. However, colonization with CA-MRSA may at least partially replace colonization with MSSA. So far, evidence indicates that MSSA still accounts for many infections. Therefore, eradication of MRSA alone is not sufficient to address the public health burden of S. aureus.
bacterial resistance; staphylococcal infections; healthcare-associated infections; community-associated infections
Over 90 capsular serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae, a common nasopharyngeal colonizer and major cause of pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis, are known. It is unclear why some serotypes can persist at all: they are more easily cleared from carriage and compete poorly in vivo. Serotype-specific immune responses, which could promote diversity in principle, are weak enough to allow repeated colonizations by the same type. Here we show that weak serotype-specific immunity and an acquired response not specific to the capsule can together reproduce observed diversity. Serotype-specific immunity stabilizes competition, and acquired immunity to noncapsular antigens reduces fitness differences. Our model can be used to explain the effects of pneumococcal vaccination and indicates general factors that regulate the diversity of pathogens.
During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic (pH1N1), morbidity and mortality sparing was observed among the elderly population; it was hypothesized that this age group benefited from immunity to pH1N1 due to cross-reactive antibodies generated from prior infection with antigenically similar influenza viruses. Evidence from serologic studies and genetic similarities between pH1N1 and historical influenza viruses suggest that the incidence of pH1N1 cases should drop markedly in age cohorts born prior to the disappearance of H1N1 in 1957, namely those at least 52–53 years old in 2009, but the precise range of ages affected has not been delineated.
Methods and Findings
To test for any age-associated discontinuities in pH1N1 incidence, we aggregated laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 case data from 8 jurisdictions in 7 countries, stratified by single year of age, sex (when available), and hospitalization status. Using single year of age population denominators, we generated smoothed curves of the weighted risk ratio of pH1N1 incidence, and looked for sharp drops at varying age bandwidths, defined as a significantly negative second derivative. Analyses stratified by hospitalization status and sex were used to test alternative explanations for observed discontinuities. We found that the risk of laboratory-confirmed infection with pH1N1 declines with age, but that there was a statistically significant leveling off or increase in risk from about 45 to 50 years of age, after which a sharp drop in risk occurs until the late fifties. This trend was more pronounced in hospitalized cases and in women and was independent of the choice in smoothing parameters. The age range at which the decline in risk accelerates corresponds to the cohort born between 1951–1959 (hospitalized) and 1953–1960 (not hospitalized).
The reduced incidence of pH1N1 disease in older individuals shows a detailed age-specific pattern consistent with protection conferred by exposure to influenza A/H1N1 viruses circulating before 1957.
An independent reanalysis of 11 randomized clinical trials shows that oseltamivir treatment reduces the risk of lower respiratory tract complications requiring antibiotic treatment by 28% overall (95% confidence interval [CI], 11%–42%) and by 37% among patients with confirmed influenza infections (95% CI, 18%–52%).
What would you do if you had a sexually transmitted disease that was untreatable with antibiotics? That is the situation we may be heading toward. In the United States, gonorrhea is the second most common reportable infection. Over the years, the organism that causes it, N. gonorrhoeae, has acquired resistance to several classes of antibiotics including, most recently, the fluoroquinolones. In fact, widespread resistance led CDC to stop recommending fluoroquinolones for gonorrhea treatment in 2007. Today, cephalosporin-based combination therapy is the last remaining option currently recommended for gonorrhea treatment. Understanding of the causes of drug resistance is needed so that control measures can be improved and the effectiveness of the few remaining drugs can be maintained. This article investigates possible causes for the emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant N. gonorrhoeae that occurred several years ago. Fluoroquinolone-resistant strains spread in the United States in the late 1990s and spread more rapidly among men who have sex with men (MSM) than among heterosexual men. One possible explanation for the rise in drug resistance, especially among heterosexuals, is acquisition of resistant gonorrhea through travel. Certain drug-resistant strains of N. gonorrhoeae, particularly the multidrug resistant strains (also resistant to penicillin and tetracycline) circulating among MSM, seemed to be able to reach high prevalence levels through domestic transmission, rather than through frequent importation. After resistance emerged in a geographic area, resistant strains appeared among MSM and heterosexuals within several months. When resistance is detected in either MSM or heterosexuals, prevention efforts should be directed toward both populations.
Using data from the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project, we studied changes in ciprofloxacin resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates in the United States during 2002–2007. Compared with prevalence in heterosexual men, prevalence of ciprofloxacin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae infections showed a more pronounced increase in men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly through an increase in prevalence of strains also resistant to tetracycline and penicillin. Moreover, that multidrug resistance profile among MSM was negatively associated with recent travel. Across the surveillance project sites, first appearance of ciprofloxacin resistance in heterosexual men was positively correlated with such resistance for MSM. The increase in prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance may have been facilitated by use of fluoroquinolones for treating gonorrhea and other conditions. The prominence of multidrug resistance suggests that using other classes of antimicrobial drugs for purposes other than treating gonorrhea helped increase the prevalence of ciprofloxacin-resistant strains that are also resistant to those drugs.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae; antimicrobial resistance; men who have sex with men; multidrug resistance; MSM; bacteria; gonorrhea; United States; ciproflaxin; luoroquinolones
Background. To understand and model the impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines at the population level, we need to know the transmission dynamics of individual pneumococcal serotypes. We estimated serotype-specific clearance and acquisition rates of nasopharyngeal colonization among Kenyan children.
Methods. Children aged 3–59 months who were identified as carriers in a cross-sectional survey were followed-up approximately 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 days later and monthly thereafter until culture of 2 consecutive swabs yielded an alternative serotype or no pneumococcus. Serotype-specific clearance rates were estimated by exponential regression of interval-censored carriage durations. Duration was estimated as the reciprocal of the clearance rate, and acquisition rates were estimated on the basis of prevalence and duration, assuming an equilibrium state.
Results. Of 2840 children sampled between October 2006 and December 2008, 1868 were carriers. The clearance rate was 0.032 episodes/day (95% confidence interval [CI], .030–.034), for a carriage duration of 31.3 days, and the rate varied by serotype (P < .0005). Carriage durations for the 28 serotypes with ≥10 carriers ranged from 6.7 to 50 days. Clearance rates increased with year of age, adjusted for serotype (hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.15–1.27). The acquisition rate was 0.061 episodes/day (95% CI, .055–.067), which did not vary with age. Serotype-specific acquisition rates varied from 0.0002 to 0.0022 episodes/day. Serotype-specific acquisition rates correlated with prevalence (r = 0.91; P < .00005) and with acquisition rates measured in a separate study involving 1404 newborns in Kilifi (r = 0.87; P < .00005).
Conclusions. The large sample size and short swabbing intervals provide a precise description of the prevalence, duration, and acquisition of carriage of 28 pneumococcal serotypes. In Kilifi, young children experience approximately 8 episodes of carriage per year. The declining prevalence with age is attributable to increasing clearance rates.
Widespread use of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) has led to significant reductions in disease while changing pneumococcal population dynamics via herd immunity and serotype replacement. We performed multilocus sequence typing (MLST) on 590 pneumococcal isolates obtained during the American Indian clinical trial of PCV7, in which communities were randomized for eligible children to receive either PCV7 or a meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV). Sequence types (STs) were analyzed to determine the impact of the vaccine on pneumococcal population structure and to assess the possible impact of pneumococcal genetic background on vaccine effects. One hundred forty-three STs were obtained, the most frequent being ST199, the only one that included vaccine serotypes (VTs), non–vaccine-associated nonvaccine serotypes (NVA/NVTs), and vaccine-associated serotypes (VATs). Serotype replacement observed in the PCV communities was due to a diverse population of STs, most of which also existed in the MCV communities. Possible capsular switching to create novel ST associations with NVA/NVTs was detected only once. Reductions in VTs and changes in VATs in PCV communities did not show evidence of variation by ST, after accounting for lower vaccine effectiveness against serotype 19F. These observations suggest the hypothesis that the vaccine acts as a “serotype filter”: its effect on a particular strain can be predicted on the basis of the serotype of the strain, with little effect of genetic background (as assessed by MLST) over and above capsule. If sustained, such patterns provide some cause for optimism that rapid evolution of PCV escape strains with drug resistance or high virulence is unlikely.
MLST; conjugate vaccination; Streptococcus pneumoniae; nasopharyngeal carriage
Before the introduction of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar-7), the relative prevalence of serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae was fairly stable worldwide. We sought to develop a statistical tool to predict the relative frequency of different serotypes among disease isolates in the pre- and post-Prevnar-7 eras using the limited amount of data that is widely available.
We initially used pre-Prevnar-7 carriage prevalence and estimates of invasiveness derived from case-fatality data as predictors for the relative abundance of serotypes causing invasive pneumococcal disease during the pre- and post-Prevnar-7 eras, using negative binomial regression. We fit the model to pre-Prevnar-7 invasive pneumococcal disease data from England and Wales and used these data to (1) evaluate the performance of the model using several datasets and (2) evaluate the utility of the country-specific carriage data. We then fit an alternative model that used polysaccharide structure, a correlate of prevalence that does not require country-specific information and could be useful in determining the post-vaccine population structure, as a predictor.
Predictions from the initial model fit data from several pediatric populations in the pre-Prevnar-7 era. Following the introduction of Prevnar-7, the model still had a good negative predictive value, though substantial unexplained variation remained. The alternative model had a good negative predictive value but poor positive predictive value. Both models demonstrate that the pneumococcal population follows a somewhat predictable pattern even after vaccination.
This approach provides a preliminary framework to evaluate the potential patterns and impact of serotypes causing invasive pneumococcal disease.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) reduce nasopharyngeal carriage of vaccine-serotype pneumococci but increase in the carriage of non-vaccine serotypes. We studied the epidemiology of carriage among children 3–59 months old before vaccine introduction in Kilifi, Kenya.
In a rolling cross-sectional study from October 2006 to December 2008 we approached 3570 healthy children selected at random from the population register of the Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System and 134 HIV-infected children registered at a specialist clinic. A single nasopharyngeal swab was transported in STGG and cultured on gentamicin blood agar. A single colony of pneumococcus was serotyped by Quellung reaction.
Families of 2840 children in the population-based sample and 99 in the HIV-infected sample consented to participate; carriage prevalence was 65.8% (95% CI, 64.0–67.5%) and 76% (95% CI, 66–84%) in the two samples, respectively. Carriage prevalence declined progressively with age from 79% at 6–11 months to 51% at 54–59 months (p<0.0005). Carriage was positively associated with coryza (Odds ratio 2.63, 95%CI 2.12–3.25) and cough (1.55, 95%CI 1.26–1.91) and negatively associated with recent antibiotic use (0.53 95%CI 0.34–0.81). 53 different serotypes were identified and 42% of isolates were of serotypes contained in the 10-valent PCV. Common serotypes declined in prevalence with age while less common serotypes did not.
Carriage prevalence in children was high, serotypes were diverse, and the majority of strains were of serotypes not represented in the 10-valent PCV. Vaccine introduction in Kenya will provide a natural test of virulence for the many circulating non-vaccine serotypes.
Making human vaccines available on a global scale requires the use of complex production methods, meticulous quality control and reliable distribution channels that ensure the products are potent and effective at their point of use. The technologies involved in manufacturing different types of vaccines may strongly influence vaccine cost, ease of industrial scale-up, stability and ultimately world-wide availability. Manufacturing complexity is compounded by the need for different formulations for different countries and age groups. Reliable vaccine production in appropriate quantities and at affordable prices is the cornerstone of developing global vaccination policies. However, ensuring optimal access and uptake also requires strong partnerships between private manufacturers, regulatory authorities and national and international public health services. For vaccines whose supplies are limited, either due to rapidly emerging diseases or longer-term mismatch of supply and demand, prioritizing target groups can increase vaccine impact. Focusing on influenza vaccines as an example that well illustrates many of the relevant points, this article considers current production, distribution, access and other factors that ultimately impact on vaccine uptake and population-level effectiveness.
Experimental and epidemiologic evidence indicates that variations of absolute humidity account for the onset and seasonal cycle of epidemic influenza in temperate regions. A role for absolute humidity in the transmission of pandemic influenza, such as 2009 A/H1N1, has yet to be demonstrated and, indeed, outbreaks of pandemic influenza during more humid spring, summer, and autumn months might appear to constitute evidence against an effect of humidity. However, here the authors show that variations of the basic and effective reproductive numbers for influenza, caused by seasonal changes in absolute humidity, are consistent with the general timing of pandemic influenza outbreaks observed for 2009 A/H1N1 in temperate regions, as well as wintertime transmission of epidemic influenza. Indeed, absolute humidity conditions correctly identify the region of the United States vulnerable to a third, wintertime wave of pandemic influenza. These findings suggest that the timing of pandemic influenza outbreaks is controlled by a combination of absolute humidity conditions, levels of susceptibility, and changes in population-mixing and contact rates.
disease outbreaks; disease susceptibility; disease transmission, infectious; humidity; influenza, human
Defining the propensity of Streptoccocus pneumoniae (SP) serotypes to invade sterile body sites following nasopharyngeal (NP) acquisition has the potential to inform about how much invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) may occur in a typical population with a given distribution of carriage serotypes. Data from enhanced surveillance for IPD in Massachusetts children ≤7 years in 2003/04, 2006/07 and 2008/09 seasons and surveillance of SP NP carriage during the corresponding respiratory seasons in 16 Massachusetts communities in 2003/04 and 8 of the 16 communities in both 2006/07 and 2008/09 were used to compute a serotype specific “invasive capacity (IC)” by dividing the incidence of IPD due to serotype x by the carriage prevalence of that same serotype in children of the same age. A total of 206 IPD and 806 NP isolates of SP were collected during the study period. An approximate 50-fold variation in the point estimates between the serotypes having the highest (18C, 33F, 7F, 19A, 3 and 22F) and lowest (6C, 23A, 35F, 11A, 35B, 19F, 15A, and 15BC) IC was observed. Point estimates of IC for most of the common serotypes currently colonizing children in Massachusetts were low and likely explain the continued reduction in IPD from the pre-PCV era in the absence of specific protection against these serotypes. Invasive capacity differs among serotypes and as new pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are introduced, ongoing surveillance will be essential to monitor whether serotypes with high invasive capacity emerge (e.g. 33F, 22F) as successful colonizers resulting in increased IPD incidence due to replacement serotypes.
Streptoccocus pneumoniae; serotype; invasive capacity
Assessments of infectious disease spread in hospitals seldom account for interfacility patient sharing. This is particularly important for pathogens with prolonged incubation periods or carrier states.
We quantified patient sharing among all 32 hospitals in Orange County (OC), California, using hospital discharge data. Same-day transfers between hospitals were considered “direct” transfers, and events in which patients were shared between hospitals after an intervening stay at home or elsewhere were considered “indirect” patient-sharing events. We assessed the frequency of readmissions to another OC hospital within various time points from discharge and examined interhospital sharing of patients with Clostridium difficile infection.
In 2005, OC hospitals had 319,918 admissions. Twenty-nine percent of patients were admitted at least twice, with a median interval between discharge and readmission of 53 days. Of the patients with 2 or more admissions, 75% were admitted to more than 1 hospital. Ninety-four percent of interhospital patient sharing occurred indirectly. When we used 10 shared patients as a measure of potential interhospital exposure, 6 (19%) of 32 hospitals “exposed” more than 50% of all OC hospitals within 6 months, and 17 (53%) exposed more than 50% within 12 months. Hospitals shared 1 or more patient with a median of 28 other hospitals. When we evaluated patients with C. difficile infection, 25% were readmitted within 12 weeks; 41% were readmitted to different hospitals, and less than 30% of these readmissions were direct transfers.
In a large metropolitan county, interhospital patient sharing was a potential avenue for transmission of infectious agents. Indirect sharing with an intervening stay at home or elsewhere composed the bulk of potential exposures and occurred unbeknownst to hospitals.