Increases in colonization with serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae not contained within the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) have been reported among children following introduction. Serotype 6C has emerged as prevalent in nasopharyngeal colonization and acute otitis media (AOM), though it is uncommonly recovered from children with invasive pneumococcal disease. Vaccine serotypes within PCV7 have been replaced by nonvaccine serotypes without significant changes in the overall carriage rate. We hypothesize 1) that serotypes vary in their ability to evade host defenses and establish AOM following colonization and 2) the observed reduction in pneumococcal otitis results from a reduced disease potential by some ‘replacement serotypes’. We compared the capacity of S. pneumoniae serotypes 6C and 19A to produce experimental otitis media (EOM) in a chinchilla model. The proportion of chinchillas that developed culture positive EOM and density of middle ear infection was evaluated. EOM was found in 28/82 (34%) ears challenged with 6C compared to 13/18(72.2%) with 19A [p=0.0003]. When disease due to 6C did occur, it was characterized by lowdensity infection. Our findings demonstrate that challenge with serotype 6C results in EOM less frequently than 19A. These data support the need for greater knowledge regarding differences among serotypes to produce AOM.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; complement; virulence
Competitive interactions between bacteria differ by number and species present; thus, vaccination and treatment strategies may alter nasopharyngeal flora and disease susceptibility.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Staphylococcus aureus often colonize the nasopharynx. Children are susceptible to bacterial infections during or soon after upper respiratory tract infection (URI). We describe colonization with these 4 bacteria species alone or in combination during URI. Data were from a prospective cohort of healthy children 6 to 36 months of age followed up for 1 year. Analyses of 968 swabs from 212 children indicated that S. pneumoniae colonization is negatively associated with colonization by H. influenzae. Competitive interactions shifted when H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis colonized together. In this situation, the likelihood of colonization with all 3 species is higher. Negative associations were identified between S. pneumoniae and S. aureus and between H. influenzae and S. aureus. Polymicrobial interactions differed by number and species of bacteria present. Antimicrobial therapy and vaccination strategies targeting specific bacterial species may alter the flora in unforeseen ways.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Haemophilus influenzae; Moraxella catarrhalis; Staphylococcus aureus; colonization; competition; children; polymicrobial; interference; upper respiratory tract infection; research
The composition of the upper respiratory tract microbial community may influence the risk for colonization by the acute otitis media (AOM) pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. We used culture-independent methods to describe upper respiratory tract microbial communities in healthy children and children with upper respiratory tract infection with and without concurrent AOM. Nasal swabs and data were collected in a cross-sectional study of 240 children between 6 months and 3 years of age. Swabs were cultured for S. pneumoniae, and real-time PCR was used to identify S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, and M. catarrhalis. The V1-V2 16S rRNA gene regions were sequenced using 454 pyrosequencing. Microbial communities were described using a taxon-based approach. Colonization by S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, and M. catarrhalis was associated with lower levels of diversity in upper respiratory tract flora. We identified commensal taxa that were negatively associated with colonization by each AOM bacterial pathogen and with AOM. The balance of these relationships differed according to the colonizing AOM pathogen and history of antibiotic use. Children with antibiotic use in the past 6 months and a greater abundance of taxa, including Lactococcus and Propionibacterium, were less likely to have AOM than healthy children (odds ratio [OR], 0.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25 to 0.85). Children with no antibiotic use in the past 6 months, a low abundance of Streptococcus and Haemophilus, and a high abundance of Corynebacterium and Dolosigranulum were less likely to have AOM (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.83). An increased understanding of polymicrobial interactions will facilitate the development of effective AOM prevention strategies.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis are the three leading bacteria species associated with otitis media. Defining the molecular epidemiology of bacteria known to cause otitis media is of great importance, in both clinical and research settings. PFGE and MLST provide data for the characterization of isolates’ genetic relatedness, yet they differ in the types of studies for which they are most useful. Consequently, knowledge of both techniques is important for laboratories intending to study the molecular epidemiology of otitis media–associated bacterial pathogens.
Molecular epidemiology; multilocus sequence typing; pulsed field gel electrophoresis; eBURST; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Haemophilus influenzae; Moraxella catarrhalis; otitis media
Vaccination has proven effective in controlling many infectious diseases. However, differential effectiveness with regard to pathogen genotype is a frequent reason for failures in vaccine development. Often, insufficient immune response is induced to prevent infection by the diversity of existing serotypes present in pathogenic populations of bacteria. These vaccines that target a too narrow spectrum of serotypes do not offer sufficient prevention of infections, and can also lead to undesirable strain replacements. Here, we examine a novel idea to specifically exploit the narrow spectrum coverage of some vaccines to combat specific, emerging multi- and pan-resistant strains of pathogens. Application of a narrow-spectrum vaccine could serve to prevent infections by some strains that are hard to treat, rather than offer the vaccinated individual protection against infections by the pathogenic species as such. We suggest that vaccines targeted to resistant serotypes have the potential to become important public health tools, and would represent a new approach toward reducing the burden of particular multi-resistant strains occurring in hospitals. Vaccines targeting drug-resistant serotypes would also be the first clinical intervention with the potential to drive the evolution of pathogenic populations toward drug-sensitivity. We illustrate the feasibility of this approach by modeling a hypothetical vaccine that targets a subset of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) genotypes, in combination with drug treatment targeted at drug-sensitive genotypes. We find that a combined intervention strategy can limit nosocomial outbreaks, even when vaccine efficacy is imperfect. The broader utility of vaccine-based resistance control strategies should be further explored taking into account population structure, and the resistance and transmission patterns of the pathogen considered.
Young women have the highest burden of chlamydia infections, and socioeconomic disparities exist. Individual-level measures of socioeconomic status (SES) may be difficult to assess for young women. The authors examined whether neighbourhood SES provides a useful measure in comparison with individual-level SES with respect to the burden of multiple chlamydia diagnoses.
In a study of young women with chlamydia (n=233; mean age =21 years), multiple infections were assessed with self-report and follow-up testing. General estimating equations and pseudo-R2 were used to assess the roles of individual-level SES (education and employment) and neighbourhood-level SES (percentage of people in census tract of residence below poverty) on multiple chlamydia diagnoses.
Neither education nor employment was associated with multiple chlamydia diagnoses. Women living in high-poverty areas were significantly more likely than those living in low-poverty areas to have multiple chlamydia diagnoses (adjusted OR 3.46, 95% CI 1.18 to 10.15). This neighbourhood-level poverty measure improved model fit by 17%.
Neighborhood-level poverty may provide a better measure of SES than individual-level variables as a predictor of multiple chlamydia diagnoses in young women and can be useful when valid measures of individual-level SES are unavailable.
Acute otitis media (AOM) is a common complication of upper respiratory tract infection whose pathogenesis involves both viruses and bacteria. We examined risks of acute otitis media associated with specific combinations of respiratory viruses and acute otitis media bacterial pathogens. Data were from a prospective study of children ages 6 to 36 months and included viral and bacterial culture and quantitative PCR for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human bocavirus, and human metapneumovirus. Repeated-measure logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between specific viruses, bacteria, and the risk of acute otitis media complicating upper respiratory tract infection. In unadjusted analyses of data from 194 children, adenovirus, bocavirus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis were significantly associated with AOM (P < 0.05 by χ2 test). Children with high respiratory syncytial virus loads (≥3.16 × 107 copies/ml) experienced increased acute otitis media risk. Higher viral loads of bocavirus and metapneumovirus were not significantly associated with acute otitis media. In adjusted models controlling for the presence of key viruses, bacteria, and acute otitis media risk factors, acute otitis media risk was independently associated with high RSV viral load with Streptococcus pneumoniae (odds ratio [OR], 4.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.90 and 10.19) and Haemophilus influenzae (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.38 and 3.02). The risk was higher for the presence of bocavirus and H. influenzae together (OR, 3.61; 95% CI, 1.90 and 6.86). Acute otitis media risk differs by the specific viruses and bacteria involved. Acute otitis media prevention efforts should consider methods for reducing infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus, bocavirus, and adenovirus in addition to acute otitis media bacterial pathogens.
Non-vaccine Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes are increasingly associated with disease. We evaluated isolates of the same sequence type (ST199) but different serotype (15B/C, 19A) for growth in vitro, and pathogenic potential in a chinchilla otitis media model. We also developed a qPCR assay to quantitatively assess each isolate, circumventing the need for selectable markers. In vitro studies showed faster growth of serotype 19A over 15B/C. Both were equally capable of colonization and middle ear infection in this model. Serotype 19A is included in new conjugate vaccine formulations while serotype 15B/C is not. Non-capsular vaccine targets will be important in disease prevention efforts.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; conjugate vaccine; qPCR assay
Streptococcus pneumoniae asymptomatically colonizes the upper respiratory tract of children and is a frequent cause of otitis media. Patterns of microbial colonization likely influence S. pneumoniae colonization and otitis media susceptibility. This study compared microbial communities in children with and without otitis media. Nasal swabs and clinical and demographic data were collected in a cross-sectional study of Philadelphia, PA, children (6 to 78 months) (n = 108) during the 2008-2009 winter respiratory virus season. Swabs were cultured for S. pneumoniae. DNA was extracted from the swabs; 16S rRNA gene hypervariable regions (V1 and V2) were PCR amplified and sequenced by Roche/454 Life Sciences pyrosequencing. Microbial communities were described using the Shannon diversity and evenness indices. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to group microbial community taxa into four factors representing correlated taxa. Of 108 children, 47 (44%) were colonized by S. pneumoniae, and 25 (23%) were diagnosed with otitis media. Microbial communities with S. pneumoniae were significantly less diverse and less even. Two PCA factors were associated with a decreased risk of pneumococcal colonization and otitis media, as follows: one factor included potentially protective flora (Corynebacterium and Dolosigranulum), and the other factor included Propionibacterium, Lactococcus, and Staphylococcus. The remaining two PCA factors were associated with an increased risk of otitis media. One factor included Haemophilus, and the final factor included Actinomyces, Rothia, Neisseria, and Veillonella. Generally, these taxa are not considered otitis media pathogens but may be important in the causal pathway. Increased understanding of upper respiratory tract microbial communities will contribute to the development of otitis media treatment and prevention strategies.
Otitis media (middle ear infection) is the most common reason for pediatric sick visits in the United States. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading otitis media pathogen. S. pneumoniae must colonize the upper respiratory tract and compete with a complex community of nonpathogenic bacteria before infecting the middle ear. We compared microbial communities in the upper respiratory tract of children who had otitis media and those who did not. Members of the normal flora, i.e., Corynebacterium and Dolosigranulum, were protective for S. pneumoniae colonization and otitis media. As expected, the genera Haemophilus was associated with otitis media. Surprisingly, Actinomyces, Rothia, Neisseria, and Veillonella were associated with an increased risk of otitis media. These bacteria are not otitis media pathogens but may be associated with antibiotic use or involved in the causal pathway to disease. Increased understanding of upper respiratory tract microbial communities will lead to new ways to prevent middle ear infections, including probiotics.
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was used to determine genetic diversities of multiple nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae isolates from throat and ear specimens of eight children with otitis media. From five children, all ear and throat isolates were identical. The bacterial populations in these specimens showed less diversity than populations in throat isolates of healthy children.
We examined the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in loci encoding surfactant protein A (SFTPA) and risk of wheeze and persistent cough during the first year of life among a cohort of infants at risk for developing asthma.
Between September 1996 and December 1998, mothers of newborn infants were invited to participate if they had an older child with clinician-diagnosed asthma. Each mother was given a standardized questionnaire within 4 months of her infant's birth. Infant respiratory symptoms were collected during quarterly telephone interviews at 6, 9 and 12 months of age. Due to the association of SFTPA polymorphisms and race/ethnicity, analyses were restricted to 221 white infants for whom whole blood and respiratory data were available. Ordered logistic regression models were used to examine the association between respiratory symptom frequency and SFTPA haplotypes.
The 6A allele haplotype of SFTPA1, with an estimated frequency of 6% among our study infants, was associated with an increased risk of persistent cough (OR 3.69, 95% CI 1.71, 7.98) and wheeze (OR 4.72, 95% CI 2.20, 10.11). The 6A/1A haplotype of SFTPA, found among approximately 5% of the infants, was associated with an increased risk of persistent cough (OR 3.20, 95% CI 1.39, 7.36) and wheeze (OR 3.25, 95% CI 1.43, 7.37).
Polymorphisms within SFTPA loci may be associated with wheeze and persistent cough in white infants at risk for asthma. These associations require replication and exploration in other ethnic/racial groups.
Streptococcus pneumoniae frequently colonizes the upper respiratory tract of young children and is an important cause of otitis media and invasive disease. Carriage is more common than disease, yet the genetic factors that predispose a given clone for disease are not known. The relationship between capsule type, genetic background, and virulence is complex, and important questions remain regarding how pneumococcal clones differ in their ability to cause disease. Pneumococcal neuraminidase cleaves sialic acid-containing substrates and is thought to be important for pneumococcal virulence. We describe the distribution of multilocus sequence types (ST), capsule type, and neuraminidase genes among 342 carriage, middle ear, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pneumococcal strains from young children. We found 149 STs among our S. pneumoniae isolates. nanA was present in all strains, while nanB and nanC were present in 96% and 51% of isolates, respectively. The distribution of nanC varied among the strain collections from different tissue sources (P = 0.03). The prevalence of nanC was 1.41 (95% confidence interval, 1.11, 1.79) times higher among CSF isolates than among carriage isolates. We identified isolates of the same ST that differed in the presence of nanB and nanC. These studies demonstrate that virulence determinants, other than capsule loci, vary among strains of identical ST. Our studies suggest that the presence of nanC may be important for tissue-specific virulence. Studies that both incorporate MLST and take into account additional virulence determinants will provide a greater understanding of the pneumococcal virulence potential.
Otitis media is one of the most common infections of early childhood. Surfactant protein A functions as part of the innate immune response, which plays an important role in preventing infections early in life. This prospective study utilized a candidate gene approach to evaluate the association between polymorphisms in loci encoding SP-A and risk of otitis media during the first year of life among a cohort of infants at risk for developing asthma.
Between September 1996 and December 1998, women were invited to participate if they had at least one other child with physician-diagnosed asthma. Each mother was given a standardized questionnaire within 4 months of her infant's birth. Infant respiratory symptoms were collected during quarterly telephone interviews at 6, 9 and 12 months of age. Genotyping was done on 355 infants for whom whole blood and complete otitis media data were available.
Polymorphisms at codons 19, 62, and 133 in SP-A1, and 223 in SP-A2 were associated with race/ethnicity. In logistic regression models incorporating estimates of uncertainty in haplotype assignment, the 6A4/1A5haplotype was protective for otitis media among white infants in our study population (OR 0.23; 95% CI 0.07,0.73).
These results indicate that polymorphisms within SP-A loci may be associated with otitis media in white infants. Larger confirmatory studies in all ethnic groups are warranted.
Streptococcus pneumoniae strains are the leading cause of bacterial otitis media, yet little is known about specific bacterial factors important for this disease. We utilized a molecular epidemiological approach involving genomic subtraction of the S. pneumoniae serogroup 19 middle ear strain 5093 against the laboratory strain R6. Resulting subtraction PCR (sPCR) products were used to screen a panel of 93 middle ear, 90 blood, 35 carriage, and 58 cerebrospinal fluid isolates from young children to identify genes found more frequently among middle ear isolates. Probe P41, similar to a hypothetical protein of Brucella melitensis, occurred among 41% of middle ear isolates and was found 2.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32 to 6.5), 3.3 (95% CI, 1.9 to 5.7), and 1.8 (95% CI, 1.1 to 3.0) times more frequently among middle ear strains than carriage, blood, or meningitis strains, respectively. sPCR fragment H10, similar to an unknown Streptococcus agalactiae protein, was present in 31% of middle ear isolates and occurred 3.6 (95% CI, 1.2 to 11.2), 2.8 (95% CI, 1.5 to 5.4), and 2.6 (95% CI, 1.2 to 5.5) times more often among middle ear isolates than carriage, blood, or meningitis strains, respectively. These studies have identified two genes of potential importance in otitis media virulence. Further studies are warranted to outline the precise role of these genes in otitis media pathogenesis.
Adherence of Haemophilus influenzae to respiratory epithelial cells is the first step in the pathogenesis of H. influenzae infection and is facilitated by the action of several adhesins located on the surface of the bacteria. In this study, prevalences of hifBC, which represent the pilus gene cluster; hmw1A, hmw2A, and hmwC, which represent high-molecular-weight (HMW) adhesin genes; and hia, which represents H. influenzae adhesin (Hia) genes were determined among clinical isolates of encapsulated type b (Hib) and nonencapsulated (NTHi) H. influenzae. hifBC genes were detected in 109 of 170 (64%) Hib strains and in 46 of 162 (28%) NTHi isolates (P = 0.0001) and were more prevalent among the invasive type b strains than invasive NTHi strains (P = 0.00003). Furthermore, hifBC genes were significantly more prevalent (P = 0.0398) among NTHi throat isolates than NTHi middle ear isolates. hmw1A, hmw2A, hmwC, and hia genes were not detected in Hib strains. Among NTHi isolates, the prevalence of hmw1A was 51%, the prevalence of hmw2A was 23%, the prevalence of hmwC was 48%, and the prevalence of hia was 33%. The hmw genes were significantly more prevalent among middle ear than throat isolates, while hia did not segregate with a respiratory tract site. These results show the variability of the presence of adhesin genes among clinical H. influenzae isolates and suggest that hemagglutinating pili may play a larger role in H. influenzae nasopharyngeal colonization than in acute otitis media whereas the HMW adhesins may be virulence factors for acute otitis media.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of otitis media and invasive disease. Since introduction of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, there has been an increase in replacement disease due to serotype 19A clonal complex (CC)199 isolates. The goals of this study were to 1) describe genetic diversity among nineteen CC199 isolates from carriage, middle ear, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid, 2) compare CC199 19A (n = 3) and 15B/C (n = 2) isolates in the chinchilla model for pneumococcal disease, and 3) identify accessory genes associated with tissue-specific disease among a larger collection of S. pneumoniae isolates. CC199 isolates were analyzed by comparative genome hybridization. One hundred and twenty-seven genes were variably present. The CC199 phylogeny split into two main clades, one comprised predominantly of carriage isolates and another of disease isolates. Ability to colonize and cause disease did not differ by serotype in the chinchilla model. However, isolates from the disease clade were associated with faster time to bacteremia compared to carriage clade isolates. One 19A isolate exhibited hypervirulence. Twelve tissue-specific genes/regions were identified by correspondence analysis. After screening a diverse collection of 326 isolates, spr0282 was associated with carriage. Four genes/regions, SP0163, SP0463, SPN05002 and RD8a were associated with middle ear isolates. SPN05002 also associated with blood and CSF, while RD8a associated with blood isolates. The hypervirulent isolate's genome was sequenced using the Solexa paired-end sequencing platform and compared to that of a reference serotype 19A isolate, revealing the presence of a novel 20 kb region with sequence similarity to bacteriophage genes. Genetic factors other than serotype may modulate virulence potential in CC199. These studies have implications for the long-term effectiveness of conjugate vaccines. Ideally, future vaccines would target common proteins to effectively reduce carriage and disease in the vaccinated population.