Journal Article

Large Community Outbreak of <i>Streptococcus pneumoniae</i> Serotype 5 Invasive Infection in an Impoverished, Urban Population

Marc G. Romney, Mark W. Hull, Réka Gustafson, Jat Sandhu, Sylvie Champagne, Titus Wong, Anouf Nematallah, Sara Forsting and Patricia Daly

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 47, issue 6, pages 768-774
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Large Community Outbreak of Streptococcus pneumoniae Serotype 5 Invasive Infection in an Impoverished, Urban Population

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Background.Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common cause of sporadic invasive infections, but outbreaks of invasive pneumococcal disease are infrequent. In August 2006, a sudden increase in the number of patients presenting with invasive pneumococcal disease was noted at St. Paul's Hospital (Vancouver, Canada). Most patients with severe disease resided in an area referred to as the Downtown Eastside, a neighborhood known for its high rates of poverty and illicit drug use.

Methods.Prospective, laboratory-based surveillance for invasive pneumococcal disease was initiated, including on-site serotyping of S. pneumoniae isolates. A vaccination campaign using 23-valent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine was launched in the Downtown Eastside. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the association of sociodemographic variables and medical risk factors with S. pneumoniae serotype status.

Results.A single S. pneumoniae serotype (serotype 5) was responsible for 78% of invasive pneumococcal disease cases (137 of 175 cases) during the outbreak period of August 2006–July 2007. The outbreak strain, although fully susceptible to penicillin, caused significant morbidity and placed considerable strain on the acute care system within the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Crack cocaine use was found to be the main independent risk factor associated with invasive pneumococcal disease due to S. pneumoniae serotype 5 (odds ratio, 12.4; 95% confidence interval, 2.22–69.5).

Conclusions.A targeted vaccination campaign using polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine appeared to help control this outbreak. In urban centers with high rates of illicit drug use, vaccination strategies for preventing invasive pneumococcal disease may need to be refined to include individuals who use crack cocaine.

Journal Article.  4404 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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