Recurrent Pneumococcal Bacteremia: 34 Episodes in 15 Patients

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Thirty-four episodes of pneumococcal bacteremia were identified in 15 patients over 5 years in 10 hospitals in Franklin County, Ohio. Twelve patients each had 2 episodes of pneumococcal bacteremia, 2 had 3, and 1 had 4. All patients had predisposing conditions, with lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease being the most frequent. The mean interval between the first and second episode was 268 days. Serotyping and genotyping were performed on 29 isolates. The same serotypic and genotypic patterns were found for sequential isolates from four patients; three of these patients had a recurrence between 22 and 90 days after a previous episode. Seven (24%) of the 29 isolates were serotype 23F; four isolates (14%) were not susceptible to penicillin. All of our patients received appropriate antimicrobial therapy and appeared to be clinically cured of their initial infection. For patients with recurrent pneumococcal disease, alternate preventive measures such as immunization with conjugate pneumococcal vaccine and/or prophylactic antibiotic therapy should be considered.

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