Background: The present study assessed the prevalence and characteristics of S. pneumoniae serotype 19A isolates from children with pneumococcal disease (PD), before and since introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) in Greece.
Methods: S. pneumoniae isolates collected at one large pediatric hospital between 1986 and 2015 were serotyped by the Quellung reaction and MICs determined by Etest. Alterations of pbp genes and the presence of mefA, mefE, ermB genes were detected by polymerase chain reaction. Genotypes were assessed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST).
Results: Among 1875 isolates, 210 (11.2%) belonged to serotype 19A. The prevalence of PD caused by serotype 19A increased from 4.6% in the pre-PCV7 years (1986-2005) to 19.6% in the post-PCV7 years (2006-2010), peaking at 27% in 2009 (p < 0.001, 95% CI; 2.0, 18.2) with a significant upward trend (p = 0.04, 95% CI; 1.02, 12.66). Following the introduction of PCV13 in 2010, the rate decreased from 22% in 2011 to 11.4% in 2015 (p = 0.08, 95% CI; 0.92, 5.1) with a downward trend of borderline significance (p = 0.05, 95% CI; -6.8, 0.04). The multidrug resistant (MDR) serotype 19A isolates increased from 10.6% in 1986-2005 to 21.2% in 2006-2010 and to 71.8% in 2011-2015 (P < 0.001). Alterations in pbp genes were detected in all penicillin non-susceptible isolates. Of 110 erythromycin resistant isolates, 21 contained the mefE gene, 36 the ermB and 53 both the mefE and ermB genes. MLST analysis of 142 isolates revealed four dominant clonal complexes (CC); CC320, CC172, CC276 and CC199. The majority of CC320 and CC276 isolates displayed MDR phenotypes.
Conclusion: PD caused by serotype 19A increased significantly after the introduction of PCV7 followed by a decline after PCV13 use. The vast majority of persisting 19A isolates was MDR. Surveillance studies are necessary to monitor the changes in the pneumococcal population.
Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; Clonal complexes; Invasive pneumococcal disease; Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines; Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 19A.
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