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1.  Long-term impact of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination on nasopharyngeal carriage in children following a reduced dose pneumococcal conjugate vaccine primary series in infancy 
Vaccine  2015;33(42):5708-5714.
Previously, the Fiji Pneumococcal Project (FiPP) evaluated reduced dose immunization schedules that incorporated pneumococcal protein conjugate and/or polysaccharide vaccine (PCV7 and 23vPPV, respectively). Immune hyporesponsiveness was observed in children vaccinated with 23vPPV at 12 months of age compared with children who did not receive 23vPPV.
Here we assess the long-term impact of 23vPPV vaccination on nasopharyngeal carriage rates and densities of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus and Moraxella catarrhalis. Nasopharyngeal swabs (n=194) were obtained from healthy children who participated in FiPP (now aged 5–7 years). S. pneumoniae were isolated and identified by standard culture-based methods, and serotyped using latex agglutination and the Quellung reaction. Carriage rates and densities of S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, S. aureus and M. catarrhalis were determined using real-time quantitative PCR.
There were no differences in the rate or density of S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae or M. catarrhalis carriage by PCV7 dose or 23vPPV vaccination in the vaccinated participants overall. However, differences were observed between the two main ethnic groups: Fijian children of Indian descent (Indo-Fijian) were less likely to carry S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis, and there was evidence of a higher carriage rate of S. aureus compared with indigenous Fijian (iTaukei) children. Polysaccharide vaccination appeared to have effects that varied between ethnic groups, with 23vPPV vaccination associated with a higher carriage rate of S. aureus in iTaukei children, while there was a lower carriage rate of S. pneumoniae associated with 23vPPV vaccination in Indo-Fijian children.
Overall, polysaccharide vaccination had no long-term impact on pneumococcal carriage, but may have impacted on S. aureus carriage and have varying effects in ethnic groups, suggesting current WHO vaccine schedule recommendations against the use of 23vPPV in children under two years of age are appropriate.
PMCID: PMC4609896  PMID: 26232540
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine; Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; Nasopharyngeal carriage; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Staphylococcus aureus; Ethnicity
2.  Investigation of Streptococcus salivarius-mediated inhibition of pneumococcal adherence to pharyngeal epithelial cells 
BMC Microbiology  2016;16:225.
Pneumococcal adherence to the nasopharyngeal epithelium is a critical step in colonisation and disease. The probiotic bacterium, Streptococcus salivarius, can inhibit pneumococcal adherence to epithelial cells in vitro. We investigated the mechanism(s) of inhibition using a human pharyngeal epithelial cell line (Detroit 562) following pre-administration of two different strains of S. salivarius.
Whilst the bacteriocin-encoding megaplasmids of S. salivarius strains K12 and M18 were essential to prevent pneumococcal growth on solid media, they were not required to inhibit pneumococcal adherence. Experiments testing S. salivarius K12 and two pneumococcal isolates (serotypes 19F and 6A) showed that inhibition of 19F may involve S. salivarius-mediated blocking of pneumococcal binding sites: a negative correlation was observed between adherence of K12 and 19F, and no inhibition occurred when K12 was prevented from contacting epithelial cells. K12-mediated inhibition of adherence by 6A may involve additional mechanisms, since no correlation was observed between adherence of K12 and 6A, and K12 could inhibit 6A adherence in the absence of cell contact.
These results suggest that S. salivarius employs several mechanisms, including blocking pneumococcal binding sites, to reduce pneumococcal adherence to pharyngeal epithelial cells. These findings extend our understanding of how probiotics may inhibit pneumococcal adherence and could assist with the development of novel strategies to prevent pneumococcal colonisation in the future.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12866-016-0843-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5041332  PMID: 27681377
Probiotics; Probiotic mechanisms; Respiratory tract; Streptococcus salivarius; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Pneumococcus; Colonisation; Adherence
3.  Phylogeographical analysis of the dominant multidrug-resistant H58 clade of Salmonella Typhi identifies inter- and intracontinental transmission events 
Wong, Vanessa K | Baker, Stephen | Pickard, Derek J | Parkhill, Julian | Page, Andrew J | Feasey, Nicholas A | Kingsley, Robert A | Thomson, Nicholas R | Keane, Jacqueline A | Weill, François-Xavier | Edwards, David J | Hawkey, Jane | Harris, Simon R | Mather, Alison E | Cain, Amy K | Hadfield, James | Hart, Peter J | Thieu, Nga Tran Vu | Klemm, Elizabeth J | Glinos, Dafni A | Breiman, Robert F | Watson, Conall H | Kariuki, Samuel | Gordon, Melita A | Heyderman, Robert S | Okoro, Chinyere | Jacobs, Jan | Lunguya, Octavie | Edmunds, W John | Msefula, Chisomo | Chabalgoity, Jose A | Kama, Mike | Jenkins, Kylie | Dutta, Shanta | Marks, Florian | Campos, Josefina | Thompson, Corinne | Obaro, Stephen | MacLennan, Calman A | Dolecek, Christiane | Keddy, Karen H | Smith, Anthony M | Parry, Christopher M | Karkey, Abhilasha | Mulholland, E Kim | Campbell, James I | Dongol, Sabina | Basnyat, Buddha | Dufour, Muriel | Bandaranayake, Don | Naseri, Take Toleafoa | Singh, Shalini Pravin | Hatta, Mochammad | Newton, Paul | Onsare, Robert S | Isaia, Lupeoletalalei | Dance, David | Davong, Viengmon | Thwaites, Guy | Wijedoru, Lalith | Crump, John A | De Pinna, Elizabeth | Nair, Satheesh | Nilles, Eric J | Thanh, Duy Pham | Turner, Paul | Soeng, Sona | Valcanis, Mary | Powling, Joan | Dimovski, Karolina | Hogg, Geoff | Farrar, Jeremy | Holt, Kathryn E | Dougan, Gordon
Nature genetics  2015;47(6):632-639.
The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid is a major global health threat affecting many countries where the disease is endemic. Here whole-genome sequence analysis of 1,832 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) identifies a single dominant MDR lineage, H58, that has emerged and spread throughout Asia and Africa over the last 30 years. Our analysis identifies numerous transmissions of H58, including multiple transfers from Asia to Africa and an ongoing, unrecognized MDR epidemic within Africa itself. Notably, our analysis indicates that H58 lineages are displacing antibiotic-sensitive isolates, transforming the global population structure of this pathogen. H58 isolates can harbor a complex MDR element residing either on transmissible IncHI1 plasmids or within multiple chromosomal integration sites. We also identify new mutations that define the H58 lineage. This phylogeographical analysis provides a framework to facilitate global management of MDR typhoid and is applicable to similar MDR lineages emerging in other bacterial species.
PMCID: PMC4921243  PMID: 25961941
4.  The PneuCarriage Project: A Multi-Centre Comparative Study to Identify the Best Serotyping Methods for Examining Pneumococcal Carriage in Vaccine Evaluation Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(11):e1001903.
The pneumococcus is a diverse pathogen whose primary niche is the nasopharynx. Over 90 different serotypes exist, and nasopharyngeal carriage of multiple serotypes is common. Understanding pneumococcal carriage is essential for evaluating the impact of pneumococcal vaccines. Traditional serotyping methods are cumbersome and insufficient for detecting multiple serotype carriage, and there are few data comparing the new methods that have been developed over the past decade. We established the PneuCarriage project, a large, international multi-centre study dedicated to the identification of the best pneumococcal serotyping methods for carriage studies.
Methods and Findings
Reference sample sets were distributed to 15 research groups for blinded testing. Twenty pneumococcal serotyping methods were used to test 81 laboratory-prepared (spiked) samples. The five top-performing methods were used to test 260 nasopharyngeal (field) samples collected from children in six high-burden countries. Sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) were determined for the test methods and the reference method (traditional serotyping of >100 colonies from each sample).
For the alternate serotyping methods, the overall sensitivity ranged from 1% to 99% (reference method 98%), and PPV from 8% to 100% (reference method 100%), when testing the spiked samples. Fifteen methods had ≥70% sensitivity to detect the dominant (major) serotype, whilst only eight methods had ≥70% sensitivity to detect minor serotypes. For the field samples, the overall sensitivity ranged from 74.2% to 95.8% (reference method 93.8%), and PPV from 82.2% to 96.4% (reference method 99.6%). The microarray had the highest sensitivity (95.8%) and high PPV (93.7%). The major limitation of this study is that not all of the available alternative serotyping methods were included.
Most methods were able to detect the dominant serotype in a sample, but many performed poorly in detecting the minor serotype populations. Microarray with a culture amplification step was the top-performing method. Results from this comprehensive evaluation will inform future vaccine evaluation and impact studies, particularly in low-income settings, where pneumococcal disease burden remains high.
Catherine Satzke and collaborators exploit a panel of spiked and field pneumococcal samples to compare serotyping methods used for nasopharyngeal carriage studies.
Editors' Summary
About 800,000 young children, mostly living in low-income countries, die annually from pneumococcal diseases, illnesses caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium. S. pneumoniae is transmitted through contact with infected respiratory secretions and harmlessly colonizes the nose and throat of many healthy children (nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal carriage). Occasionally, however, S. pneumoniae spreads into the lungs, the blood stream, or the covering of the brain, where it causes pneumonia, septicemia, and meningitis, respectively. These potentially fatal invasive pneumococcal diseases can be treated with antibiotics but can also be prevented by vaccination. Vaccination primes the immune system to attack disease-causing organisms (pathogens) by exposing it to weakened or dead pathogens or to pathogen molecules that it recognizes as foreign (antigens). Because there are more than 90 S. pneumoniae variants, or “serotypes,” each characterized by an immunologically distinct complex sugar coat, S. pneumoniae vaccines have to include multiple serotypes. “Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines” (PCVs) effectively prevent invasive pneumococcal diseases caused by common serotypes in resource-rich countries and are now being introduced into resource-poor countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although vaccination with PCVs reduces the carriage of the pneumococcal serotypes contained in them (vaccine serotypes), in the absence of these serotypes, non-vaccine serotypes can rapidly colonize the nasopharynx and become more common in both carriage and disease. Thus, “serotype replacement,” which may be more pronounced in low-income settings, threatens the global control of pneumococcal disease through vaccination; thus, when evaluating the impact of pneumococcal vaccines, it is important to analyze the carriage of multiple serotypes. Unfortunately, the traditional serotyping method—in which bacterial colonies are grown and a small number of colonies are typed using tests called the Quellung reaction and latex agglutination—is cumbersome and frequently misses the carriage of multiple serotypes. Several new serotyping methods have been developed over the past decade, and, here, in a multi-center comparative study (the PneuCarriage project), the researchers investigate which of these new methods is best for the examination of pneumococcal carriage in vaccine evaluation studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used 15 clinical isolates containing a mixture of pneumococcal serotypes to prepare 81 “spiked” samples, which they distributed to 15 laboratories for testing with 20 serotyping methods. They determined the sensitivity (the percentage of serotypes in the samples that were correctly identified) and the positive predictive value (PPV; the proportion of identified positives that were true positives) for each method and used the five top-performing methods (those with the highest sensitivity and PPV; a perfect test has a sensitivity and a PPV of 100%) to test 260 nasopharyngeal (field) samples collected from children in six high-burden countries. When testing the spiked samples, traditional serotyping of over 100 colonies per sample had a sensitivity of 98% and a PPV of 100% overall, whereas the sensitivity of the alternative methods ranged from 1% to 99%, and their PPV ranged from 8% to 100%. Fifteen methods detected the major serotype in the spiked samples with ≥70% sensitivity, but only eight detected the minor serotypes with the same sensitivity. For the field samples, the sensitivity and PPV of the top-performing tests ranged from 74.2% to 95.8% and from 82.2% to 96.4%, respectively (the sensitivity and PPV of the traditional method were 93.8% and 99.6%, respectively); a culture microarray method had the best overall performance (95.8% sensitivity and 93.7% PPV).
What Do These Findings Mean?
A pneumococcal serotyping method for use in carriage studies needs to have high sensitivity, to detect multiple serotypes in individual samples, and to detect most or all serotypes. These findings show that although most of the recently developed serotyping methods detected the dominant serotype in a sample, many failed to detect minor serotypes. Moreover, the performance of similar methods varied markedly, and methods optimized for testing pure isolates did not necessarily work well when testing more complex samples. These findings identified microarray with a culture amplification step as the top-performing method, but, importantly, this study did not test all the available serotyping methods. Also, because it assessed each method in only a single laboratory, no conclusions can be reached about the reproducibility of these methods or their suitability for use in less-experienced laboratories or in resource-limited settings. Nevertheless, these findings should help to guide future vaccine evaluation and impact studies, particularly in low-income settings, where the burden of pneumococcal disease remains high.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal vaccination, including personal stories (including some information in Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about pneumococcal disease
Kidshealth, a website provided by the US-based not-for-profit Nemours Foundation, includes information on pneumococcal vaccination (in English and Spanish)
Public Health England provides guidance on pneumococcal disease and vaccination
The not-for-profit Immunization Action Coalition has information on pneumococcal disease, including personal stories
Gavi, a not-for-profit global vaccine alliance, is helping to roll out pneumococcal vaccination in resource-poor countries
More information about the PneuCarriage project is available
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about pneumococcal infections (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information about pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal vaccines.
PMCID: PMC4648509  PMID: 26575033
5.  Reduced IL-17A Secretion Is Associated with High Levels of Pneumococcal Nasopharyngeal Carriage in Fijian Children 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129199.
Streptococcus pneumonia (the pneumococcus) is the leading vaccine preventable cause of serious infections in infants under 5 years of age. The major correlate of protection for pneumococcal infections is serotype-specific IgG antibody. More recently, antibody-independent mechanisms of protection have also been identified. Preclinical studies have found that IL-17 secreting CD4+ Th17 cells in reducing pneumococcal colonisation. This study assessed IL-17A levels in children from Fiji with high and low pneumococcal carriage density, as measured by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). We studied Th17 responses in 54 children who were designated as high density carriers (N=27, >8.21x105 CFU/ml) or low density carriers (N=27, <1.67x105 CFU/ml). Blood samples were collected, and isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were stimulated for 6 days. Supernatants were harvested for cytokine analysis by multiplex bead array and/or ELISA. Th17 cytokines assayed included IL-17A, IL-21, IL-22 as well as TNF-α, IL-10, TGF-β, IL-6, IL-23 and IFNγ. Cytokine levels were significantly lower in children with high density pneumococcal carriage compared with children with low density carriage for IL-17A (p=0.002) and IL-23 (p=0.04). There was a trend towards significance for IL-22 (p=0.057) while no difference was observed for the other cytokines. These data provide further support for the role of Th17-mediated protection in humans and suggest that these cytokines may be important in the defence against pneumococcal carriage.
PMCID: PMC4466549  PMID: 26069966
8.  Inhibition of Streptococcus pneumoniae adherence to human epithelial cells in vitro by the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:135.
Colonization of the nasopharynx by Streptococcus pneumoniae is considered a prerequisite for pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia and otitis media. Probiotic bacteria can influence disease outcomes through various mechanisms, including inhibition of pathogen colonization. Here, we examine the effect of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) on S. pneumoniae colonization of human epithelial cells using an in vitro model. We investigated the effects of LGG administered before, at the same time as, or after the addition of S. pneumoniae on the adherence of four pneumococcal isolates.
LGG significantly inhibited the adherence of all the pneumococcal isolates tested. The magnitude of inhibition varied with LGG dose, time of administration, and the pneumococcal isolate used. Inhibition was most effective when a higher dose of LGG was administered prior to establishment of pneumococcal colonization. Mechanistic studies showed that LGG binds to epithelial cells but does not affect pneumococcal growth or viability. Administration of LGG did not lead to any significant changes in host cytokine responses.
These findings demonstrate that LGG can inhibit pneumococcal colonization of human epithelial cells in vitro and suggest that probiotics could be used clinically to prevent the establishment of pneumococcal carriage.
PMCID: PMC3641997  PMID: 23561014
Probiotic; LGG; Pneumococci; Colonization; in vitro model
9.  Effect of Pneumococcal Vaccination on Nasopharyngeal Carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Staphylococcus aureus in Fijian Children 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(3):1034-1038.
The 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) reduces carriage of vaccine type Streptococcus pneumoniae but leads to replacement by nonvaccine serotypes and may affect carriage of other respiratory pathogens. We investigated nasopharyngeal carriage of S. pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Staphylococcus aureus in Fijian infants participating in a pneumococcal vaccine trial using quantitative PCR. Vaccination did not affect pathogen carriage rates or densities, whereas significant differences between the two major ethnic groups were observed.
PMCID: PMC3295152  PMID: 22170924
10.  Multilocus Sequence Typing of Streptococcus pneumoniae by Use of Mass Spectrometry ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(11):3756-3760.
Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) is an important tool for the global surveillance of bacterial pathogens that is performed by comparing the sequences of designated housekeeping genes. We developed and tested a novel mass spectrometry-based method for MLST of Streptococcus pneumoniae. PCR amplicons were subjected to in vitro transcription and base-specific cleavage, followed by analysis of the resultant fragments by using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). Comparison of the cleavage fragment peak patterns to a reference sequence set permitted automated identification of alleles. Validation experiments using 29 isolates of S. pneumoniae revealed that the results of MALDI-TOF MS MLST matched those obtained by traditional sequence-based MLST for 99% of alleles and that the MALDI-TOF MS method accurately identified two single-nucleotide variations. The MADLI-TOF MS method was then used for MLST analysis of 43 S. pneumoniae isolates from Papua New Guinean children. The majority of the isolates present in this population were not clonal and contained seven new alleles and 30 previously unreported sequence types.
PMCID: PMC3209096  PMID: 21880964
11.  Molecular Epidemiology of Streptococcus pneumoniae Serogroup 6 Isolates from Fijian Children, Including Newly Identified Serotypes 6C and 6D▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(11):4298-4300.
Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was applied to all unique serotype 6C and 6D isolates and a random selection of serotype 6B and 6A isolates from nasopharyngeal swabs from Fijian children enrolled in a recent vaccine trial. The results suggest that Fijian serotype 6D has arisen independently from both serotypes 6A/C and 6B.
PMCID: PMC3020807  PMID: 20810769
12.  Comparison of Citrated Human Blood, Citrated Sheep Blood, and Defibrinated Sheep Blood Mueller-Hinton Agar Preparations for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(10):3770-3772.
The use of Mueller-Hinton agar supplemented with citrated human or citrated sheep blood was compared with the use of routinely used Mueller-Hinton agar supplemented with defibrinated sheep blood for antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Streptococcus pneumoniae. The alternate supplements were found to be unsatisfactory, particularly for testing resistant isolates, and therefore are not recommended.
PMCID: PMC2953122  PMID: 20668133
13.  High Burden of Impetigo and Scabies in a Tropical Country 
Impetigo and scabies are endemic diseases in many tropical countries; however the epidemiology of these diseases is poorly understood in many areas, particularly in the Pacific.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted three epidemiological studies in 2006 and 2007 to determine the burden of disease due to impetigo and scabies in children in Fiji using simple and easily reproducible methodology. Two studies were performed in primary school children (one study was a cross-sectional study and the other a prospective cohort study over ten months) and one study was performed in infants (cross-sectional). The prevalence of active impetigo was 25.6% (95% CI 24.1–27.1) in primary school children and 12.2% (95% CI 9.3–15.6) in infants. The prevalence of scabies was 18.5% (95% CI 17.2–19.8) in primary school children and 14.0% (95% CI 10.8–17.2) in infants. The incidence density of active impetigo, group A streptococcal (GAS) impetigo, Staphylococcus aureus impetigo and scabies was 122, 80, 64 and 51 cases per 100 child-years respectively. Impetigo was strongly associated with scabies infestation (odds ratio, OR, 2.4, 95% CI 1.6–3.7) and was more common in Indigenous Fijian children when compared with children of other ethnicities (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.7–4.7). The majority of cases of active impetigo in the children in our study were caused by GAS. S. aureus was also a common cause (57.4% in school aged children and 69% in infants).
These data suggest that the impetigo and scabies disease burden in children in Fiji has been underestimated, and possibly other tropical developing countries in the Pacific. These diseases are more than benign nuisance diseases and consideration needs to be given to expanded public health initiatives to improve their control.
Author Summary
Scabies and impetigo are often thought of as nuisance diseases, but have the potential to cause a great deal of morbidity and even mortality if infection becomes complicated. Accurate assessments of these diseases are lacking, particularly in tropical developing countries. We performed a series of studies in infants and primary school children in Fiji, a tropical developing country in the South Pacific. Impetigo was very common: more than a quarter of school-aged children and 12% of infants had active impetigo. Scabies was also very common affecting 18% of school children and 14% of infants. The group A streptococcus was the most common infective organism followed by Staphylococcus aureus. The size of the problem has been underestimated, particularly in the Pacific. It is time for more concerted public health efforts in controlling impetigo and scabies.
PMCID: PMC2694270  PMID: 19547749

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