Streptococcus pneumoniae strains expressing serotype 11E commonly occur among disease isolates, rarely occur among carriage isolates, and are clonally unrelated. Thus, 11E strains seem to have emerged after dissemination of serotype 11A progenitors to deeper tissues outside the nasopharynx.
Background. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a commensal colonizer of the human nasopharynx (NP) that causes disease after evasion of host defenses and dissemination. Pneumococcal strains expressing the newly identified serotype 11E arise from antigenically similar 11A progenitors by genetic inactivation of the O-acetyltransferase gene wcjE. Each 11E strain contains a distinct mutation to wcjE, suggesting that 11E strains are not transmitted among hosts despite their recovery from multiple patients with pneumococcal disease. We investigated whether the presumed lack of transmission of serotype 11E is consistent with its inability to survive in the NP.
Methods. More than 400 pneumococcal carriage, middle ear, conjunctiva, and blood isolates, serotyped as 11A by Quellung reaction, were reexamined for reactivity to 11A- and 11E-specific antibodies. We confirmed serotyping of isolates with sequencing of wcjE alleles.
Results. Serotype 11E strains were statistically more likely to occur among blood (4 of 15), conjunctiva (1 of 14), or middle ear (2 of 21) isolates than among carriage isolates (2 of 355). All 11E isolates contained unique mutations that putatively decrease wcjE expression.
Conclusions. The lack of a circulating 11E clone and the increased occurrence of 11E strains among disease isolates supports the idea that serotype 11E independently arises during infection after initial colonization with a serotype 11A progenitor. Factors encountered in the NP likely contribute to relative rarity of 11E among carriage isolates, whereas selective pressures in deeper tissues possibly promote 11E emergence. These findings illustrate a novel model of microevolution that transpires during the span of a single encounter with serotype 11A, highlighting the adaptability of bacterial pathogens within hosts.
Outbreaks and sporadic cases of pneumococcal illness occur among young adults in confined settings. Our aim was to characterize pneumococcal acquisition and carriage among healthy young adults in Israel during military training in confined settings.
During the years 2007–2008, an observational longitudinal study was conducted in three cohorts of healthy soldiers, during a 7-month basic training period. Epidemiological data, oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal cultures were sampled on 5 occasions: before and 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks after start of training. Samples were processed within 2–18 hours. Relatedness of isolates was investigated by capsular typing of all isolates and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to determine acquisition and transmission. Carriage and acquisition patterns were analyzed and multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the impact of time on acquisition after mixing, controlling for other covariates.
Pneumococci were recovered on 202 of 1872 visits among 742 individuals, including 40 different serotypes. Mean carriage prevalence increased in all visits following training initiation. Acquisition during training was high, as 36.9% of individuals acquired pneumococci at least once during training, and for almost one fourth of the whole population this occurred during the first 6 weeks. Significant clustering was noted. Sharing drinking glass/bottle was found to be a significant and common risk factor for pneumococcal acquisition.
Pneumococcal acquisition is highly frequent when young adults live in close contact in confined settings, especially early after mixing.
The burden of invasive pneumococcal disease in young children decreased dramatically following introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). The epidemiology of S. pneumoniae now reflects infections caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. Recently introduced higher valency pneumococcal vaccines target the residual burden of invasive and non-invasive infections, including those caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. This review is based on presentations made at the European Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in June 2011.
Surveillance data show increased circulation of the non-PCV7 vaccine serotypes 1, 3, 6A, 6C, 7 F and 19A in countries with routine vaccination. Preliminary evidence suggests that broadened serotype coverage offered by higher valency vaccines may be having an effect on invasive disease caused by some of those serotypes, including 19A, 7 F and 6C. Aetiology of community acquired pneumonia remains a difficult clinical diagnosis. However, recent reports indicate that pneumococcal vaccination has reduced hospitalisations of children for vaccine serotype pneumonia. Variations in serotype circulation and occurrence of complicated and non-complicated pneumonia caused by non-PCV7 serotypes highlight the potential of higher valency vaccines to decrease the remaining burden. PCVs reduce nasopharyngeal carriage and acute otitis media (AOM) caused by vaccine serotypes. Recent investigations of the interaction between S. pneumoniae and non-typeable H. influenzae suggest that considerable reduction in severe, complicated AOM infections may be achieved by prevention of early pneumococcal carriage and AOM infections. Extension of the vaccine serotype spectrum beyond PCV7 may provide additional benefit in preventing the evolution of AOM. The direct and indirect costs associated with pneumococcal disease are high, thus herd protection and infections caused by non-vaccine serotypes both have strong effects on the cost effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccination. Recent evaluations highlight the public health significance of indirect benefits, prevention of pneumonia and AOM and coverage of non-PCV7 serotypes by higher valency vaccines.
Routine vaccination has greatly reduced the burden of pneumococcal diseases in children. The pneumococcal serotypes present in the 7-valent vaccine have greatly diminished among disease isolates. The prevalence of some non-vaccine serotypes (e.g. 1, 7 F and 19A) has increased. Pneumococcal vaccines with broadened serotype coverage are likely to continue decreasing the burden of invasive disease, and community acquired pneumonia in children. Further reductions in pneumococcal carriage and increased prevention of early AOM infections may prevent the evolution of severe, complicated AOM. Evaluation of the public health benefits of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines should include consideration of non-invasive pneumococcal infections, indirect effects of vaccination and broadened serotype coverage.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; Invasive pneumococcal disease; Community-acquired pneumonia; Acute otitis media; Vaccine serotype coverage; Epidemiology-incidence
Association of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage with the concentration and opsonophagocytic activity (OPA) of serum serotype-specific antibodies was determined for toddlers 1 month after immunization with a 9-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Higher anti-serotype 14 and anti-serotype 19F IgG and anti-serotype 14 IgM correlated with a lowered probability of pneumococcal acquisition. Postvaccination OPA did not correlate with pneumococcal carriage.
The 92 capsular serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae differ greatly in nasopharyngeal carriage prevalence, invasiveness and disease incidence. There has been some debate, though, as to whether serotype independently affects the outcome of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Published studies have shown variable results with regards to case-fatality ratios for specific serotypes and the role of host factors in affecting these relationships. We evaluated whether risk of death from IPD is a stable serotype-associated property across studies, and then compared the pooled effect estimates with epidemiologic and biological correlates.
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of serotype-specific disease outcome for pneumonia and meningitis cases. Study-specific estimates of risk of death (risk ratio, RR) were pooled from 9 studies that provided serotype-specific data on pneumonia and meningitis using a random-effects method with serotype 14 as the reference. Pooled RRs were compared to RRs from adult cases with low co-morbidity scores to evaluate potential confounding by host factors.
There were significant differences in the RR estimates between serotypes among bacteremic pneumonia cases. Overall, types 1, 7F and 8 were associated with decreased RRs and types 3, 6A, 6B, 9N and 19F were associated with increased RRs. Outcomes among meningitis cases did not differ significantly between types. Serotypes with increased RRs tended to have a high carriage prevalence, low invasiveness, and were more heavily encapsulated in vitro. These results suggest that IPD outcome, like other epidemiologic measures, is a stable serotype-associated property.
Serotype; pneumococcus; case-fatality ratio; mortality; capsule; meta-analysis
Natural killer (NK) cells serve as a crucial first line of defense against tumors, viral and bacterial infections. We studied the involvement of a principal activating natural killer cell receptor, natural cytotoxicity receptor 1 (NCR1), in the innate immune response to S. pneumoniae infection. Our results demonstrate that the presence of the NCR1 receptor is imperative for the early clearance of S. pneumoniae. We tied the ends in vivo by showing that deficiency in NCR1 resulted in reduced lung NK cell activation and lung IFNγ production at the early stages of S. pneumoniae infection. NCR1 did not mediate direct recognition of S. pneumoniae. Therefore, we studied the involvement of lung macrophages and dendritic cells (DC) as the mediators of NK-expressed NCR1 involvement in response to S. pneumoniae. In vitro, wild type BM-derived macrophages and DC expressed ligands to NCR1 and co-incubation of S. pneumoniae-infected macrophages/DC with NCR1-deficient NK cells resulted in significantly lesser IFNγ levels compared to NCR1-expressing NK cells. In vivo, ablation of lung macrophages and DC was detrimental to the early clearance of S. pneumoniae. NCR1-expressing mice had more potent alveolar macrophages as compared to NCR1-deficient mice. This result correlated with the higher fraction of NCR1-ligandhigh lung macrophages, in NCR1-expressing mice, that had better phagocytic activity compared to NCR1-liganddull macrophages. Overall, our results point to the essential contribution of NK-expressed NCR1 in early response to S. pneumoniae infection and to NCR1-mediated interaction of NK and S. pneumoniae infected-macrophages and -DC.
We genotyped Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 6C (Sp6C) isolates collected from Jewish and Bedouin children in southern Israel during the decade before vaccination. Sp6C constituted 8.2% of the presumed Sp6A isolates. All of the Sp6C clonal clusters were associated with serogroup 6, mainly Sp6A. Different clonal distributions were found in the two subpopulations.
Factor 6d antiserum reacts with the new Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 6C. Serogroup 6 isolates, consisting of 49 6A, 42 6B and 98 6C strains from the United States and Israel, serotyped in parallel by PCR and capsular swelling methods, were all identified correctly. The new factor 6d antiserum accurately identifies serotype 6C.
There are few data about the epidemiology of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) among children in Israel. This study was intended to identify risk factors for CA-MRSA colonization in healthy infants, to characterize the molecular features of colonizing organisms, and to determine whether they are responsible for health care-associated (HA) infections. Nasal cultures and demographic details were collected from a cohort of healthy infants at 5 visits between the ages of 2 and 12 months. Clinical characteristics of pediatric MRSA bloodstream infections (2001 to 2006) and wound cultures collected over 6 months were also studied. Clonal structure was evaluated by multilocus sequence typing. Isolates were studied for the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type and for the presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) genes. MRSA was cultured at least once from 45 of 659 infants (346 Jewish and 313 Bedouin infants). Forty of 45 (89%) isolates were from Bedouin infants. Twenty-nine of 45 (64.4%) belonged to a new clonal complex, designated CC913, that carries SCCmec IV but not the PVL genes. CC913 was also isolated from 9/14 blood cultures and 7/8 wounds. All CC913 infections occurred in Bedouin children, and all but two were HA. In conclusion, Bedouin origin was the main risk factor for carriage of CA-MRSA. CC913 was dominant both in healthy carriers and as a cause of pediatric HA-MRSA bloodstream infections.
The rise of antimicrobial resistance in many pathogens presents a major challenge to the treatment and control of infectious diseases. Furthermore, the observation that drug-resistant strains have risen to substantial prevalence but have not replaced drug-susceptible strains despite continuing (and even growing) selective pressure by antimicrobial use presents an important problem for those who study the dynamics of infectious diseases. While simple competition models predict the exclusion of one strain in favour of whichever is ‘fitter’, or has a higher reproduction number, we argue that in the case of Streptococcus pneumoniae there has been persistent coexistence of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains, with neither approaching 100 per cent prevalence. We have previously proposed that models seeking to understand the origins of coexistence should not incorporate implicit mechanisms that build in stable coexistence ‘for free’. Here, we construct a series of such ‘structurally neutral’ models that incorporate various features of bacterial spread and host heterogeneity that have been proposed as mechanisms that may promote coexistence. We ask to what extent coexistence is a typical outcome in each. We find that while coexistence is possible in each of the models we consider, it is relatively rare, with two exceptions: (i) allowing simultaneous dual transmission of sensitive and resistant strains lets coexistence become a typical outcome, as does (ii) modelling each strain as competing more strongly with itself than with the other strain, i.e. self-immunity greater than cross-immunity. We conclude that while treatment and contact heterogeneity can promote coexistence to some extent, the in-host interactions between strains, particularly the interplay between coinfection, multiple infection and immunity, play a crucial role in the long-term population dynamics of pathogens with drug resistance.
epidemiology; drug resistance; mathematical model; coexistence
The determinants of the negative association between Streptococcus pneumoniae and Stapylococcus aureus colonization are unknown. In this matched case-control study, the odds of co-colonization with S. aureus were significantly lower for individuals carrying a piliated vs. nonpiliated S. pneumoniae strain, suggesting the pilus may be a determinant of the negative association.
S. pneumoniae; S. aureus; pneumococcal pilus; case-control
After the introduction of the seven valent-pneumococcal conjugated vaccine into our National Immunization Program, it is important to establish and track local serotype distribution in order to evaluate its impact specially because serotype replacement phenomena has been described.
To describe the clinical, epidemiological and antimicrobial resistance patterns of Costa Rican children with otitis media caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3.
Middle ear fluid samples were obtained from Costa Rican children with otitis media who participated in various antimicrobial clinical trials between 1992 and 2007. Streptococcus pneumoniae was identified according to laboratory standard procedures. Strains were serotyped and antimicrobial susceptibility to penicillin, amoxicillin, cefuroxime, ceftriaxone, azithromycin and levofloxacin was determined by E-test.
Throughout 1992–2007 a total of 1919 tympanocentesis were performed in children with otitis media (median age: 19 months) and yielded a total of 1208 middle ear isolates. The most common pathogens were: Streptococcus pneumoniae, 511 isolates (49%); Non-Typable Haemophilus influenzae, 386 isolates (37%); Moraxella catarrahalis, 100 isolates (9.5%); and Streptococcus pyogenes, 54 isolates (5%). Streptococcus pneumoniae serotyping was performed in 346/511 isolates (68%) recovered during years 1999–2006. The most common serotypes were 19F (101/30.0%), 14 (46/13.7%), 3 (34/10.1%), 6B (30/8.9%) and 23F (23/6.8%). Analysis performed per years showed a higher prevalence of serotype 3 Streptococcus pneumoniae during the study period 2004 and 2005. During the entire study period (1999–2006) serotype 3 was most commonly isolated in children older than 24 months (61.2% vs 40.6%;P = 0.05) and showed a lower rate of penicillin non-susceptibility (4.0% vs 18%; P = 0.003).
Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3 is an important pathogen in Costa Rican children with otitis media, especially in children older than 24 months of age (P = 0.05). Most serotype 3 isolates were susceptible to penicillin, cephalosporins, macrolides and quinolones.
It is unclear whether reducing antibiotic prescriptions can reduce rates of resistance once resistance becomes prevalent. We attempted to determine whether reduced antibiotic consumption, which is observed yearly in children during the warm season, is associated with a reduction in antibiotic resistance in pneumococcal acute otitis media (AOM).
Antibiotic prescriptions and resistance were measured prospectively during 1999−2003 in 2 demographically distinct populations: Jewish and Bedouin children (aged <5 years) in southern Israel. Associations were assessed using seasonally clustered logistic regression models.
The study included 236,466 prescriptions and 3609 pneumococcal isolates. Prescription rates decreased during the warm months by 36% and 15% in Jewish and Bedouin children, respectively (P < .001 for the season). Among Jewish children, higher resistance rates were observed during the cold than the warm months (P < .001 for each antibiotic). This difference remained significant after adjustment for age, ethnic group, study year, history of antibiotic use, and serotype. The difference was not observed in Bedouin children.
Rapid seasonal decline in resistant AOM-causing pneumococci occurred only in Jewish children, among whom a marked prescribing seasonality was noted, and not in Bedouin children, among whom prescription was less seasonal. The rapid seasonal decrease in resistance associated with markedly reduced antibiotic use suggests that drug-resistant pneumococci may pay a fitness cost.
Children who had acute otitis media and were treated with levofloxacin were assessed for the emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. Nasopharynx cultures were obtained from patients at the entry to and during levofloxacin therapy. All nasopharynx isolates (n = 59) from 12 children were levofloxacin susceptible without parC/E or gyrA/B mutations. Pneumococcal nasopharynx persistence was not associated with levofloxacin resistance.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is bactericidal to Staphylococcus aureus in vitro. To determine whether this in vitro effect accounts for the inverse relation between S. pneumoniae and S. aureus colonization reported in previous epidemiologic studies, we compared S. pneumoniae and S. aureus strains from cocolonized children to those from noncocolonized children. Cocolonizing pneumococci were less bactericidal and cocolonizing staphylococci less susceptible to this effect; however, the magnitude of the effect was small. Thus, in vitro killing is not the major determinant of the pattern of cocolonization.
The accurate diagnosis of pneumococcal disease has frequently been hampered not only by the difficulties in obtaining isolates of the organism from patient specimens but also by the misidentification of pneumococcus-like viridans group streptococci (P-LVS) as Streptococcus pneumoniae. This is especially critical when the specimen comes from the respiratory tract. In this study, three novel real-time PCR assays designed for the detection of specific sequence regions of the lytA, ply, and psaA genes were developed (lytA-CDC, ply-CDC, and psaA, respectively). These assays showed high sensitivity (<10 copies for lytA-CDC and ply-CDC and an approximately twofold less sensitivity for psaA). Two additional real-time PCR assays for lytA and ply described previously for pneumococcal DNA detection were also evaluated. A panel of isolates consisting of 67 S. pneumoniae isolates (44 different serotypes and 3 nonencapsulated S. pneumoniae isolates from conjunctivitis outbreaks) and 104 nonpneumococcal isolates was used. The 67 S. pneumoniae isolates were reactive in all five assays. The new real-time detection assays targeting the lytA and psaA genes were the most specific for the detection of isolates confirmed to be S. pneumoniae, with lytA-CDC showing the greatest specificity. Both ply PCRs were positive for all isolates of S. pseudopneumoniae, along with 13 other isolates of other P-LVS isolates confirmed to be non-S. pneumoniae by DNA-DNA reassociation. Thus, the use of the ply gene for the detection of pneumococci can lead to false-positive reactions in the presence of P-LVS. The five assays were applied to 15 culture-positive cerebrospinal fluid specimens with 100% sensitivity; and serum and ear fluid specimens were also evaluated. Both the lytA-CDC and psaA assays, particularly the lytA-CDC assay, have improved specificities compared with those of currently available assays and should therefore be considered the assays of choice for the detection of pneumococcal DNA, particularly when upper respiratory P-LVS might be present in the clinical specimen.
A serological enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed using a synthetic peptide from the VP0 protein of human parechoviruses (HPeVs). Seroprevalence for HPeVs was 70% in children of ≤5 years of age and 95% in adults. For children from whom serial sera were sampled, seropositivity increased from 22% to 88% between 2 and 24 months of age.
Faropenem was tested against 1,188 middle ear fluid pathogens from children in Israel and Costa Rica. Against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, faropenem was the most active β-lactam, with activity that was similar to or greater than of the other oral antimicrobial classes studied. Faropenem was also active against Moraxella catarrhalis and Streptococcus pyogenes.
We investigated the association between prescribing antimicrobial agents and antimicrobial resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae among children with acute otitis media in southern Israel. During a 6-year period, all prescriptions of a sample of ≈20% of Jewish and Bedouin children <5 years of age were recorded and all pneumococcal isolates from middle ear fluid were collected. Although antimicrobial drug use was significantly higher in Bedouin children, the proportion of S. pneumoniae isolates with penicillin MIC ≥1.0 μg/mL was significantly higher in Jewish children. In both populations, antimicrobial prescriptions were markedly reduced over time, especially for penicillins and erythromycin. In contrast, azithromycin prescriptions increased from 1998 to 2001 with a parallel increase in macrolide and multidrug resistance. Penicillin resistance was associated with macrolide resistance. These findings strongly suggest that azithromycin affects increased antimicrobial resistance, including multidrug resistance, in S. pneumoniae.
Keywords: antibiotics; antibiotic resistance; Streptococcus pneumoniae
Pneumonia remains the leading cause of death in young children. The poor specificity of chest radiographs (CXRs) to diagnose pneumococcal pneumonia may underestimate the efficacy of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in preventing pneumococcal pneumonia.
Methods and Findings
The efficacy of nine-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine among children not infected with HIV (21%; 95% confidence interval, 1%–37%) increased when CXR-confirmed pneumonia was associated with serum C-reactive protein of 120 mg/l (12mg/dl) or more and procalcitonin of 5.0 ng/ml or more (64%; 95% confidence interval, 23%–83%). Similar results were observed in children infected with HIV.
C-reactive protein and procalcitonin improve the specificity of CXR to diagnose pneumococcal pneumonia and may be useful for the future evaluation of the effectiveness of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in preventing pneumococcal pneumonia.
Adding two blood measurements to the standard X-ray exam might lead to more specific diagnoses for pneumococcal pneumonia and allow more accurate estimate of the efficacy of pneumococcal vaccines
Antibody to capsular polysaccharide has been the basis of several vaccines that offer protection against invasive disease from Streptococcus pneumoniae. The success of such vaccines has led to the inference that natural protection against invasive pneumococcal disease is largely conferred by anticapsular antibody. If this is so, one would expect that the decline in disease from different serotypes would vary significantly, and that the appearance of substantial concentrations of anticapsular antibodies would coincide temporally with the decline in age-specific incidence.
Methods and Findings
Using incidence data from the United States, we show that, on the contrary, the decline in incidence with age is quite similar for the seven most important serogroups, despite large differences in exposure in the population. Moreover, only modest increases in antibody concentration occur over the second and third years of life, a period in which serotype-specific incidence declines to less than 25% of its peak. We also present detailed data on the distribution of antibody concentrations in Israeli toddlers, which are consistent with the United States findings. The same conclusion is supported by new data on age-specific incidence in Finland, which is compared with published data on antibody acquisition in Finnish toddlers.
We suggest some additional studies of the mechanisms of protection that could distinguish among potential alternative mechanisms, including acquired immunity to noncapsular antigens, maturation of nonspecific immune responses, or changes in anatomy or exposure.
Anticapsular antibodies induced by vaccination can protect against invasive streptococcal disease, but natural immunity seems to involve other mechanism as well
Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae carriage is a useful index for measuring the emergence of resistance and outcome in vaccination trials. We performed a study to determine which sampling site, nasopharynx (NP) or oropharynx (OP), yields the highest rate of S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae isolation at different ages. Both NP and OP cultures were obtained from 216 children aged <60 months and their mothers. The total S. pneumoniae carriage rate was 68% among children and 15% among mothers (P < 0.001). Using NP alone for the isolation of S. pneumoniae would have missed 2, 2, and 42% and using OP alone would have missed 77, 66, and 45% of S. pneumoniae in children aged 0 to 23 months, 24 to 59 months, and mothers, respectively. Using NP cultures alone for H. influenzae would have missed 23, 24, and 81% of the isolates, respectively. The respective figures for H. influenzae isolation from OP alone are 38, 29, and 9%. In children, S. pneumoniae was carried mainly in the NP while H. influenzae was equally carried in the NP and OP. In mothers, S. pneumoniae was carried equally in the NP and OP while H. influenzae was carried significantly more often in the OP. In children, H. influenzae colonization increased during illness, mainly in the NP. Culturing only one site significantly reduced the recovery of H. influenzae at all ages. NP cultures for S. pneumoniae detected close to 100% of isolates in children but only 58% of isolates in mothers.
In pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs), polysaccharide antigens are often conjugated to protein carriers related to other common vaccines. It is therefore important to test PCV interaction with other pediatric vaccines when administered simultaneously. We assessed the immune response to an 11-valent PCV conjugated to diphtheria and tetanus carriers (PncD/T11), administered concomitantly, but in separate sites, with a combined vaccine containing epitopes related antigenically to the carriers: polyribosylribitol phosphate-tetanus tox oid (PRP-T), diphtheria toxoid (DT), and tetanus toxoid (TT). In addition, these combinations contained inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and either whole-cell pertussis (wP) or acellular pertussis (aP) components. After coadministration of PncD/T11 with the combined vaccine containing wP (DTwP/IPV/PRP-T), the responses to all polysaccharides in the PncD/T11 were satisfactory. In contrast, when coadministered with an aP-containing combination (DTaP/IPV/PRP-T), the response to all seven pneumococcal conjugates to TT was significantly reduced after primary and booster immunization. The pneumococcal conjugates to DT were not significantly reduced after the primary series, but were somewhat reduced after booster. It is likely that some suppression of the tetanus-mediated response occurred even when the PncD/T11 was coadministered with wP, but this suppression was masked by the adjuvant effect of wP. By replacing wP with aP, this adjuvant effect was removed, unmasking the suppression of the tetanus-mediated response. With the increasing use of multiple aP-containing vaccines in infancy, novel approaches to adjuvants and carrier protein technology are likely to be required.
Phase variation in the colonial opacity of Streptococcus pneumoniae has been implicated as a factor in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal disease. This study examined the relationship between membrane characteristics and colony morphology in a few selected opaque-transparent couples of S. pneumoniae strains carrying different capsular types. Membrane fluidity was determined on the basis of intermolecular excimerization of pyrene and fluorescence polarization of 1,6-diphenyl 1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH). A significant decrease, 16 to 26% (P ≤ 0.05), in the excimerization rate constant of the opaque variants compared with that of the transparent variants was observed, indicating higher microviscosity of the membrane of bacterial cells in the opaque variants. Liposomes prepared from phospholipids of the opaque phenotype showed an even greater decrease, 27 to 38% (P ≤ 0.05), in the pyrene excimerization rate constant compared with that of liposomes prepared from phospholipids of bacteria with the transparent phenotype. These findings agree with the results obtained with DPH fluorescence anisotropy, which showed a 9 to 21% increase (P ≤ 0.001) in the opaque variants compared with the transparent variants. Membrane fatty acid composition, determined by gas chromatography, revealed that the two variants carry the same types of fatty acids but in different proportions. The trend of modification points to the presence of a lower degree of unsaturated fatty acids in the opaque variants compared with their transparent counterparts. The data presented here show a distinct correlation between phase variation and membrane fluidity in S. pneumoniae. The changes in membrane fluidity most probably stem from the observed differences in fatty acid composition.
Antibiotic-resistant international clones of Streptococcus pneumoniae are increasingly reported in different parts of the world. We investigated the spread of these clones through an active surveillance performed at the Israeli Streptococcal National Center during 1998 and 1999. Isolates were tested for antibiotic susceptibility, serotyped, and genotyped by random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Of 437 isolates, 276 (63.4%) were antibiotic resistant and 156 (35%) were penicillin nonsusceptible (PNS). The PNS isolates were less frequently encountered in southern Israel (27 of 136 [20%]) than in other regions (127 of 301 [42%]). Among 276 antibiotic-resistant isolates, 43 fingerprint patterns were observed. The most common clones were 9V/14-a (19.2%), 5-a (17.8%), and 1-a (10%). The 9V/14-a clone was less common, while the 1-a clone was more frequent in the south than in other regions. The 5-a clone was more common in Jerusalem than in other regions. Among the Jewish and Arab populations the most frequent clones were 9V/14-a (20%) and 1-a (25%), respectively. Three international clones, 9V/14-a-Spain9V-3, 6B-a-Spain6B-2, and 5-a-Colombia5-19, comprised 40% of all antibiotic-resistant isolates and 56% of all PNS isolates. The seven-valent conjugate vaccine covers 58% of the most common clones, all highly PNS clones, and 94% of the multidrug-resistant clones in Israel, while the nine-valent vaccine covers all of them. The most common antibiotic-resistant invasive pediatric S. pneumoniae clones—mainly the three international ones—contribute significantly to increases in antibiotic resistance. Their geographic distribution varies within the country and between the different populations.