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Pneumococcal concentration and serotype distribution in preschool children with radiologically confirmed pneumonia compared to healthy controls prior to introduction of pneumococcal vaccination in Zanzibar: an observational study


BMC Infectious diseases

Category: Publications

Author: Kristina Elfving, Lucia Gonzales Strömberg, Shadi Geravandi, Maria Andersson, Marc Bachelard, Mwinyi Msellem, Delér Shakely, Birger Trollfors, Rickard Nordén, Andreas Mårtensson, Anders Björkman, Magnus Lindh

Published Date: 10 December 2022



The World Health Organization recommends pneumococcal vaccination (PCV) in the first year of life. We investigated pneumococcal serotypes in children with clinical or radiologically confirmed pneumonia and healthy controls prior to PCV13 vaccine introduction in Zanzibar.


Children (n = 677) with non-severe acute febrile illness aged 2-59 months presenting to a health centre in Zanzibar, Tanzania April-July 2011 were included. Nasopharyngeal swabs collected at enrolment were analysed by real-time PCR to detect and quantify pneumococcal serotypes in patients (n = 648) and in healthy asymptomatic community controls (n = 161). Children with clinical signs of pneumonia according to the Integrated Management of Childhood illness guidelines ("IMCI pneumonia") were subjected to a chest-X-ray. Consolidation on chest X-ray was considered "radiological pneumonia".


Pneumococcal DNA was detected in the nasopharynx of 562/809 (69%) children (70% in patients and 64% in healthy controls), with no significant difference in proportions between patients with or without presence of fever, malnutrition, IMCI pneumonia or radiological pneumonia. The mean pneumococcal concentration was similar in children with and without radiological pneumonia (Ct value 26.3 versus 27.0, respectively, p = 0.3115). At least one serotype could be determined in 423 (75%) participants positive for pneumococci of which 33% had multiple serotypes detected. A total of 23 different serotypes were identified. One serotype (19F) was more common in children with fever (86/648, 13%) than in healthy controls (12/161, 7%), (p = 0.043). Logistic regression adjusting for age and gender showed that serotype 9A/V [aOR = 10.9 (CI 2.0-60.0, p = 0.006)] and 14 [aOR = 3.9 (CI 1.4-11.0, p = 0.012)] were associated with radiological pneumonia. The serotypes included in the PCV13 vaccine were found in 376 (89%) of the 423 serotype positive participants.


The PCV13 vaccine introduced in 2012 targets a great majority of the identified serotypes. Infections with multiple serotypes are common. PCR-determined concentrations of pneumococci in nasopharynx were not associated with radiologically confirmed pneumonia. Trial registration (NCT01094431).


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