Despite use of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, incidence of pleural effusion and empyema (pediatric complicated pneumococcal pneumonia [PCPP]) is reportedly increasing globally. We cultured and performed PCR on 152 pleural fluid samples recovered from pediatric patients in Portugal during 2010-2015 to identify and serotype Streptococcus pneumoniae. We identified only 17 cases by culture, but molecular methods identified S. pneumoniae in 68% (92/135) of culture-negative samples. The most frequent serotypes were 3, 1, and 19A, together accounting for 62% (68/109) of cases. Nineteen cases attributable to 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) serotypes (mostly serotype 3) were detected among 22 children age-appropriately vaccinated with PCV13. The dominance of the additional serotypes included in PCV13 among PCPP cases in Portugal continues, even with PCV13 available on the private market (without reimbursement) since 2010 and with average annual coverage of 61% among age-eligible children. Our data suggest reduced effectiveness of PCV13 against serotype 3 PCPP.
Keywords: 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; PCV13; Portugal; Streptococcus pneumoniae; bacteria; bacterial infection; conjugate vaccines; empyema; immunization; pneumonia; respiratory infections; serotype; serotype 3; vaccination; vaccine failure; vaccine-preventable diseases.