The majority of adult pneumococcal invasive infections in Portugal are still potentially vaccine preventable in spite of significant declines of serotypes 1 and 5

PLoS One. 2013 Sep 16;8(9):e73704. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073704. eCollection 2013.


In Portugal, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have been administered to children outside of the national immunization plan since 2001. We determined the serotype and antimicrobial susceptibility of 1265 isolates responsible for adult invasive pneumococcal infections (IPD) between 2009 and 2011 and compared the results with previously published data from 1999 to 2008. Serotypes 3 (12.6%), 7F (10.0%), 19A (9.1%), 14 (8.4%), 1 (6.9%) and 8 (6.2%) were the most frequent and together accounted for 53.2% of adult IPD. Serotypes 1 and 5 declined significantly while serotype 34, not included in any vaccine, increased. Taken together, the serotypes included in the 13-valent conjugate vaccine (PCV13) peaked among adult IPD isolates in 2008 (70.2%) and declined since then reaching 53.5% in 2011. The decline in the serotypes included in the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine since 2007 was also significant but much more modest with 79.2% of the isolates causing IPD in 2011 expressing these serotypes. Since the changes in serotypes causing IPD in adults coincided with the 10-valent and PCV13 introduction in children, it is unlikely that vaccination triggered these changes although it may have accelerated them. The proportion of IPD caused by serotypes included in the 7-valent conjugate vaccine remained stable (19.0%). Both penicillin non-susceptibility and erythromycin resistance increased in the study period, with serotypes 14 and 19A accounting for the majority of resistant isolates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erythromycin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Portugal
  • Serotyping
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Conjugate
  • Erythromycin

Grant support

A.N. Horácio, J. Diamantino-Miranda and S.I. Aguiar were supported by grants SFRH/BD/81205/2011, SFRH/BD/81766/2011, SFRH/BPD/78376/2011, respectively, from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal. This work was partially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal (PTDC/DTPEPI/1759/2012) and unrestricted research grants from Pfizer and Glaxo SmithKline. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.