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J Pediatr. 2003 Oct;143(4):438-44.

Invasive pneumococcal infections in children with sickle cell disease in the era of penicillin prophylaxis, antibiotic resistance, and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, 2040 Ridgewood Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Pediatr. 2004 Mar;144(3):412.


Rates and severity of pneumococcal infections in children with sickle cell disease were examined before licensure of pneumococcal-conjugated vaccine (PVC). Rates of peak invasive infection rates in 1-year-old children with hemoglobin SS and mortality in those 0 to 10 years of age were 36.5 to 63.4 and 1.4 to 2.8 per 1000 person-years, respectively (>10 and 100 times as frequent as in the general population). Overall, 71% of serotyped isolates (n=80) were PVC serotypes and 71% of nonvaccine serotype strains were penicillin-sensitive. Clinical presentation in children with hemoglobin SS (n=71; more with hypotension) and hemoglobin SC (n=18; more with acute chest syndrome, otitis media) differed. Penicillin nonsusceptibility (38% of isolates) varied between geographic study sites. Penicillin prophylaxis appeared less effective against intermediate and resistant strains. Of all infected children, meningitis developed in 20% and 15% died (hemoglobin SS, n=15 and 11; hemoglobin SC, n=1 each). Factors associated with death included age >4 years (58%), serotype 19F, and not being followed by a hematologist (42% each). The pneumococcal-polysaccharide vaccine was 80.4% effective within 3 years after vaccination (95% CI, 39.7, 93.6). Children with sickle cell disease of all ages may benefit from PVC boosted with polysaccharide vaccination.

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