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J Infect Dis. 1975 Jul;132(1):62-8.

Spread of Streptococcus pneumoniae in families. II. Relation of transfer of S. pneumoniae to incidence of colds and serum antibody.


Factors that affect the spread of Streptococcus pneumoniae and the antibody responses associated with colonization were studied in 64 families for periods of eight to 52 weeks. Surveillance included daily recording of respiratory symptoms and bimonthly pharyngeal cultures for identification of the pneumococcal carrier state. Rhinovirus cultures were included for a portion of the study period. Intrafamilial carriage of a single type of S. pneumoniae and simultaneous spread to more than one family member were commonmspread often occurred in association with an upper respiratory tract infection; simultaneous transmission of S. pneumoniae and a rhinovirus was documented. Preexisting, type-specific serum antibody did not prevent acquisition of homotypic S. pneumoniae but did appear to shorten the duration of pharyngeal carriage. Sera of all 11 adults had greater than 150 ng of antibody nitrogen/ml of homotypic serum antibody (measured by a radioimmunoassay) before colonization. In contrast, only one of 13 preschool children had homotypic antibody concentrations of this magnitude before colonization. A threefold or greater rise in the concentration of homotypic antibody occurred in 13 of 24 children (54%) after acquisition of S. pneumoniae; the increase in antibody concentration was associated with illness in six of the children. On the other hand, acquisition of S. pneumoniae in adults was not associated with an increase in concentration of homotypic serum antibody.

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