Effect of underlying disease and age on pneumococcal serotype distribution

Steven J. Weisholtz, Barry J. Hartman, Richard B. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The hospital records of 264 patients with 277 episodes of pneumococcal bacteremia occurring at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center over the period 1970 to 1980 were examined to determine whether serotype distribution varied with the underlying disease or age of the patient. The patients were placed into three groups according to their underlying disease. Group A consisted of all patients with significant impairment of their immune system. Group B included those patients with underlying conditions that were not associated with immune deficiency. Group C comprised those patients considered to be normal hosts. Overall, 84 percent of blood isolates were serotypes included in the vaccine. In Group A, only 73 percent of these isolates were vaccine types, compared with 85 percent in Group B and 97 percent in Group C (differences significant at p < 0.001). Vaccine serotypes were more common in children than adults (92 versus 81 percent), but in analysis that controlled for underlying disease, the elderly did not differ from younger adults in serotype distribution. The apparent predilection of nonvaccine serotypes to cause bacteremia in immunocompromised patients may be one factor limiting vaccine efficacy in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1983


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