Outbreaks of InvasiveKingella kingaeInfections in Closed Communities

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe the results of the epidemiologic investigation of outbreaks of invasive Kingella kingae infections among attendees at daycare facilities located in 4 closed communities in Israel.

Study design

The preschool-aged population of communities with clusters of Kingella cases had oropharyngeal cultures performed. K kingae isolates from infected patients and healthy contacts were genotyped by pulsed field gel electrophoresis to determine the spread of outbreak strains.

Results

The affected closed communities (3 military bases and 1 “kibbutz” commune) were characterized by tight social and family networks and intensive mingling. The outbreaks affected 9 of 51 attendees (attack rate: 17.6%) age 8-19 months (median: 12 months), within a 21-day period. Cases included skeletal system infections (n = 8) and bacteremia (n = 1); K kingae isolates were confirmed by the use of blood culture vials and selective media. Clinical presentation was mild and acute-phase reactants were usually normal or only moderately elevated. Thirty out of 55 (54.5%) asymptomatic children carried the outbreak strains. Analysis of the 3 clusters in which the entire preschool-aged population was cultured revealed that 31 of 71 (43.7%) children younger than 24 months of age were colonized with K kingae organisms compared with 8 of 105 (7.6%) older children (P < .001).

Conclusions

Clusters of invasive K kingae infections characterized by sudden onset, high attack rate, and wide dissemination of the outbreak strain can occur in daycare facilities and closed communities. Because the mild clinical presentation of invasive K kingae infections and the fastidious nature of the organism, a high index of suspicion and use of sensitive detection methods are recommended.

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