It has been suggested that the incidence of childhood empyema have increased during the last years in France without clear explanation. Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for the vast majority of bacteriological documented cases. Potential prevention of pleural empyemas by the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is dependent on adequation between specific pneumococcal serogroups present in vaccine and those responsible for empyemas.
Material and methods: We retrospectively collected cases of pleural empyemas registered at the National Reference Center for pneumococci (December 2002 to February 2004). Thirty children, aged 4.1+/-3.3 (SD) years, were included.
Results: Ten specific serogroups were identified: 1, 3, 5, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, and 23F. Serogroups 19A and 1 were the 2 dominant serogroups and represented 50% of cases. All children infected with serotype 19A were younger than 5 years, whereas serotype 1 was identified in 80% of empyemas in children older than 5 years. Among the 30 patients enrolled, 20 (69%) were infected with serotypes not included in the conjugate vaccine.
Conclusion: These results thus limit the potential impact of the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on the frequency of pleural empyemas in children.