Increase in the prevalence of the newly discovered pneumococcal serotype 6C in the nasopharynx after introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Academic Article


  • Background. Because pneumococcal serotype 6C was previously not distinguished from serotype 6A, the impact of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) on the carriage of serotype 6C is unknown. Methods. The nasopharyngeal (NP) prevalence of the 6C serotype was determined using 1326 pneumococcal isolates collected from 7 cohorts of Massachusetts children between 1994 and 2007. Initially, the isolates were serotyped using the quellung reaction; subsequently, stored specimens of all putative 6A isolates were tested for 6C using monoclonal antibodies. The opsonophagocytic and antibiotic susceptibilities of the isolates were determined. Results. The prevalence of 6A was 9.6% (33/343) before 2001, 8.0% (18/226) in 2004, and 2.9% (12/416) in 2007. In contrast, the prevalence of 6C was 0.6% (2/343) before 2001, 2.2% (5/226) in 2004, and 8.7% (36/416) in 2007 (P < .001 for 2/343 vs. 36/416). 6C isolates from 2007 were more susceptible to antibiotics than were 6A isolates. PCV7 induced a low ability to opsonize different isolates of 6C. Conclusions. Among NP isolates, the prevalence of 6C isolates has increased and the prevalence of 6A isolates has decreased since the introduction of PCV7 in Massachusetts in 2000. The observed increase in serotype 6C prevalence may be explained by the induction by PCV7 of low amounts of functional anti-6C antibody, compared with anti-6A and anti-6B antibodies. © 2008 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Nahm MH; Lin J; Finkelstein JA; Pelton SI
  • Start Page

  • 320
  • End Page

  • 325
  • Volume

  • 199
  • Issue

  • 3