BACKGROUND: Five of seven serotypes in the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, introduced for infants in the United States in 2000, are responsible for most penicillin-resistant infections. We examined the effect of this vaccine on invasive disease caused by resistant strains. METHODS: We used laboratory-based data from Active Bacterial Core surveillance to measure disease caused by antibiotic-nonsusceptible pneumococci from 1996 through 2004. Cases of invasive disease, defined as disease caused by pneumococci isolated from a normally sterile site, were identified in eight surveillance areas. Isolates underwent serotyping and susceptibility testing. RESULTS: Rates of invasive disease caused by penicillin-nonsusceptible strains and strains not susceptible to multiple antibiotics peaked in 1999 and decreased by 2004, from 6.3 to 2.7 cases per 100,000 (a decline of 57 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 55 to 58 percent) and from 4.1 to 1.7 cases per 100,000 (a decline of 59 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 58 to 60 percent), respectively. Among children under two years of age, disease caused by penicillin-nonsusceptible strains decreased from 70.3 to 13.1 cases per 100,000 (a decline of 81 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 80 to 82 percent). Among persons 65 years of age or older, disease caused by penicillin-nonsusceptible strains decreased from 16.4 to 8.4 cases per 100,000 (a decline of 49 percent). Rates of resistant disease caused by vaccine serotypes fell 87 percent. An increase was seen in disease caused by serotype 19A, a serotype not included in the vaccine (from 2.0 to 8.3 per 100,000 among children under two years of age). CONCLUSIONS: The rate of antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal infections decreased in young children and older persons after the introduction of the conjugate vaccine. There was an increase in infections caused by serotypes not included in the vaccine.
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