Introduction: The aim was to investigate the prevalence of oropharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Neisseria meningitidis and beta-haemolytic streptococci among asthmatic and non-asthmatic young Finnish men and to identify putative risk factors.
Objectives: A total of 224 asthmatics and 668 non-asthmatic men (mean age 19.6 years) from two intakes of conscripts to the Kainuu Brigade, Finland in July 2004 and January 2005 were enrolled upon entering military service.
Methods: Oropharyngeal specimens were examined for bacteria by routine culture methods. All the participants filled in questionnaires concerning risk factors for asthma and respiratory infections.
Results: S. pneumoniae (48 cases, 5.4%), Group A streptococci (16, 1.8%), H. influenzae (45, 5.0%), M. catarrhalis (24, 2.7%) and N. meningitidis (20, 2.2%) were isolated from the 892 participants. Ten putative risk factors for oropharyngeal colonization (asthma, atopy, allergic rhinitis, smoking, current use of asthma medication, history of adeno/tonsillectomy, level of highly sensitive C-reactive protein, peak expiratory flow, results of a 12-min running test and body mass index) were evaluated. The only significant risk factor for S. pneumoniae carriage was asthma (OR, 2.04; 95% CI 1.12 to 3.72).
Conclusions: Pneumococcal carriage is more common in asthmatic than in non-asthmatic young men.
© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.