Risk of pneumococcal disease in children with chronic medical conditions in the era of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Sep 1;59(5):615-23. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu348. Epub 2014 May 13.


Background: In the current era of universal immunization of young children with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, it is unclear whether the high risk ratios for pneumococcal disease previously attributed to specified chronic conditions have persisted. In addition, further analysis of pneumococcal disease risk may clarify whether certain chronic conditions that currently are not specified as significantly increasing the risk of pneumococcal disease should be so considered.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis utilizing healthcare claims data from the period 2007-2010 to compare rates of pneumococcal disease among children <5 and 5-17 years of age with high-risk and at-risk conditions to rates among children without these conditions in the same age group. Risk profiles and manifestations of pneumococcal infection were ascertained from diagnosis, procedure, and drug codes.

Results: Among at-risk children, rate ratios for invasive pneumococcal disease (vs children without at-risk/high-risk conditions) were 1.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-2.3) in children <5 years of age and 3.3 (95% CI, 2.4-4.4) in children 5-17 years of age. Corresponding rate ratios for high-risk children were 11.2 (95% CI, 7.0-17.9) and 40.1 (95% CI, 28.8-56.0). Rate ratios increased in asthmatic children with increasing disease severity and in all at-risk children by the number of concurrent at-risk conditions. Rate ratios for pneumococcal pneumonia and all-cause pneumonia demonstrated similar patterns.

Conclusions: Children with high-risk and at-risk conditions continue to demonstrate an increased burden of pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal disease rates are high among asthmatic children with moderate and severe disease and children with multiple at-risk conditions.

Keywords: Streptococcus pneumoniae; comorbidity; pneumococcal infections; pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pneumococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Pneumococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Vaccines, Conjugate


  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Conjugate