Background: Pneumococcal infections have historically played a major role in terms of morbidity and mortality. We explored historical trends of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and pneumococcal serotypes in a population exposed to limited antibiotic selective pressure and conjugate pneumococcal vaccination (PCV).
Methods: Retrospective cohort study based on nationwide laboratory surveillance data on IPD collected uninterruptedly in Denmark during 1938-2007. Changes in the reported incidence and trends of pneumococcal serotypes were explored using nonlinear regression analysis.
Results: There were 25,502 IPD cases included in our study. The median incidence of IPD increased from 2.8 cases per 100,000 population (interquartile range [IQR], 1.5-2.6) during the first 4 decades to 15.7 cases per 100,000 population (IQR, 7-20.4) during the 1980s and 1990s, mainly attributed to an increase in the number of bacteremia cases. The incidence of meningitis remained relatively stable, with a median of 1.3 cases per 100,000 population (IQR, 0.9-1.6). The proportions of serotypes/groups 4 and 9 increased; the proportion of serotype 18C decreased; the proportions of serotypes 6, 7F, 14, and 23F remained stable; and serotype 2 nearly disappeared. Before the 1960s, serotypes 1, 2, 3, and 5 presented peaks every 2-3 years, becoming less frequent during the 1970s with peaks every 7-10 years. Between 20% and 90% of IPD in children <5 years were caused by PCV serotypes during the last 4 decades. Cases of IPD caused by serotype 19A increased before introduction of PCV. Between 1993 and 2007, the level of resistance to macrolides and beta-lactams was 6%.
Conclusions: The epidemiology of IPD and single serotypes has constantly changed over the past 7 decades. PCV serotypes appeared to dominate the pneumococcal population.