Reduction in pediatric invasive pneumococcal disease in the Basque Country and Navarre, Spain, after introduction of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

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Abstract

This study evaluated the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease, identified the causal serotypes, and tracked the evolution of the antibiotic susceptibility of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates in the regions of the Basque Country and Navarre, Spain, before and after the introduction of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. The study included all children aged between birth and 5 years diagnosed with bacteremia, meningitis, or bacteremic pneumonia caused by pneumococci. By the second year after introduction of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, compared with the period 1998–2001, the incidence of invasive disease decreased by 64.3% in children less than 12 months of age, by 39.7% in children less than 24 months of age, and by 37.5% in children less than 60 months of age. The prevalence of clinical isolates of S. pneumoniae that lacked susceptibility to penicillin decreased by 58.2% among children less than 60 months of age. With an estimated coverage by four-dose heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine of 28–45% in 2003, the number of invasive pneumococcal infections in the Basque Country and in Navarre fell significantly after just 2 years of immunization, underscoring the importance of improving vaccination coverage under a universal childhood immunization program.