, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 521-526

Prevalence of Haemophilus influenzae pharyngeal carriers in the school population of Catalonia

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The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of healthy Haemophilus influenzae (Hi) pharyngeal carriers in a representative sample of the Catalonian school population, as well as the factors associated. A two-stage cluster sampling was carried out. Parents were given a questionnaire to collect information on sociodemographic and epidemiological variables. A pharyngeal swab was performed on children when informed consent was given by parents, and was cultured on chocolate agar with 260 μg/ml bacitracin. Of the 1212 children studied, 316 (26%) H. influenzae carriers were detected: 5 (0.4%) serotype b, 1 (0.08%) serotype c, 6 (0.5%) serotype e, 5 (0.4%) serotype f, and 299 (24.7%) non-typable. Age, gender and geographical location were the only variables associated with H. influenzae carrier status. The prevalence of non-typable H. influenzae carriers was similar to that of studies carried out in other countries, while that of serotype b carriers was similar to the remainder of H. influenzae capsulates, and lower than that described in previous studies. These data are in accordance with the low incidence of the disease observed in our context, although the possibility that the vaccine coverage may have affected the results of this study cannot be dismissed.