Context Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is recommended for elderly persons and adults with certain chronic illnesses. Additionally, a recently licensed pneumococcal 7-valent conjugate vaccine has been recommended for use in young children and could dramatically change the epidemiology of pneumococcal disease. Objectives To assess pneumococcal disease burden in the United States, estimate the potential impact of new vaccines, and identify gaps in vaccine recommendations. Design and Setting Analysis of data from the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance (ABCs)/Emerging Infections Program Network, an active, population-based system in 9 states. Patients A total of 15860 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease occurring between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 1998. Main Outcome Measures Age- and race-specific pneumoccocal disease incidence rates per 100 000 persons, case-fatality rates, and vaccine preventability. Results In 1998, overall incidence was 23.2 cases per 100 000, corresponding to an estimated 62840 cases in the United States. Incidence was highest among children younger than 2 years (166.9) and adults aged 65 years or older (59.7). Incidence among blacks was 2.6 times higher than among whites (95 % confidence interval [CI], 2.4-2.8). Overall, 28.6% of case-patients were at least 65 years old and 85.9% of cases in this age group were due to serotypes included in the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine; 19,3% of case-patients were younger than 2 years and 82.2% of cases in this age group were due to serotypes included in the 7-valent conjugate vaccine. Among patients aged 2 to 64 years, 50.6% had a vaccine indication as defined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The case-fatality rate among patients aged 18 to 64 years with an ACIP indication was 12.1% compared with 5.4% for those without an indication (relative risk, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.7-2.9). Conclusions Young children, elderly persons, and black persons of all ages are disproportionately affected by invasive pneumococcal disease. Current ACIP recommendations do not address a subset of persons aged 18 to 64 years but do include those at highest risk for·death from invasive pneumococcal disease.
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