Technical Report: Prevention of Pneumococcal Infections, Including the Use of Pneumococcal Conjugate and Polysaccharide Vaccines and Antibiotic Prophylaxis
Pneumococcal infections are the most common invasive bacterial infections in children in the United States. The incidence of invasive pneumococcal infections peaks in children younger than 2 years, reaching rates of 228/100 000 in children 6 to 12 months old. Children with functional or anatomic asplenia (including sickle cell disease [SCD]) and children with human immunodeficiency virus infection have pneumococcal infection rates 20- to 100-fold higher than those of healthy children during the first 5 years of life. Others at high risk of pneumococcal infections include children with congenital immunodeficiency; chronic cardiopulmonary disease; children receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapy; children with immunosuppressive neoplastic diseases; children with chronic renal insufficiency, including nephrotic syndrome; children with diabetes; and children with cerebrospinal fluid leaks. Children of Native American (American Indian and Alaska Native) or African American descent also have higher rates of invasive pneumococcal disease. Outbreaks of pneumococcal infection have occurred with increased frequency in children attending out-of-home care. Among these children, nasopharyngeal colonization rates of 60% have been observed, along with pneumococci resistant to multiple antibiotics. The administration of antibiotics to children involved in outbreaks of pneumococcal disease has had an inconsistent effect on nasopharyngeal carriage. In contrast, continuous penicillin prophylaxis in children younger than 5 years with SCD has been successful in reducing rates of pneumococcal disease by 84%.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines have been recommended since 1985 for children older than 2 years who are at high risk of invasive disease, but these vaccines were not recommended for younger children and infants because of poor antibody response before 2 years of age. In contrast, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (Prevnar) induce proposed protective antibody responses (>.15 μg/mL) in >90% of infants after 3 doses given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. After priming doses, significant booster responses (ie, immunologic memory) are apparent when additional doses are given at 12 to 15 months of age. In efficacy trials, infant immunization with Prevnar decreased invasive infections by >93% and consolidative pneumonia by 73%, and it was associated with a 7% decrease in otitis media and a 20% decrease in tympanostomy tube placement. Adverse events after the administration of Prevnar have been limited to areas of local swelling or erythema of 1 to 2 cm and some increase in the incidence of postimmunization fever when it is given with other childhood vaccines. Based on data in phase 3 efficacy and safety trials, the US Food and Drug Administration has provided an indication for the use of Prevnar in children younger than 24 months.
- Copyright © 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics