Pneumococcal haemolytic uraemic syndrome in the postvaccine era

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Abstract

Objective

Pneumococcal infection is a leading cause of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and is potentially vaccine preventable. Published data suggest high mortality and poor renal outcomes. The introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) has seen the emergence of disease caused by non-vaccine strains, particularly 19A. We sought to describe serotype prevalence and outcomes, particularly after the introduction of the 13-valent PCV.

Design and setting

We performed a retrospective chart review, using hospital medical records to identify cases of HUS in a tertiary paediatric hospital in Australia over a 20-year period (January 1997–December 2016). Associated pneumococcal infection was identified, and serotype data were categorised according to vaccine era: prevaccine (January 1997–December 2004), PCV7 (January 2005–June 2011) and PCV13 (July 2011–December 2016).

Results

We identified 66 cases of HUS. Pneumococcal infection was proven in 11 cases, representing 4% (1/26) of cases prior to the introduction of PCV7, 20% (3/15) in the PCV7 era and 28% (7/25) in the PCV13 era. Subtype 19A was the most prevalent pneumococcal serotype (6/11). All four patients who received PCV7 were infected with a non-vaccine serotype. Four of the five patients who received PCV13 were classed as vaccine failures. Median follow-up was 14 (range 1–108) months. Chronic kidney disease was the most common complication (4/7). We observed no mortality, neurological sequelae or progression to end-stage kidney disease.

Conclusions

Serotype 19A is most commonly associated with pneumococcal HUS, despite the introduction of the 13-valent vaccine. Chronic kidney disease is a significant complication of pneumococcal HUS.

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