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

J Pediatr. 2003 Oct;143(4):438-44. doi: 10.1067/S0022-3476(03)00331-7.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotyping


  • Penicillins
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines