Study: Pneumococcal vaccine can decrease antibiotic-resistant infections in kids by 62%

October 16, 2014

The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) not only prevents pneumococcal illness and death, but also dramatically decreases antibiotic-resistant infections in children by as much as 62%, according to a new study presented at IDWeek 2014

Tomczyk
The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) not only prevents pneumococcal illness and death, but also dramatically decreases antibiotic-resistant infections in children by as much as 62%, according to a new study presented at IDWeek 2014.

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The study found that antibiotic-resistant rates of invasive pneumococcal disease decreased by 62% among children less than 5 years from 2009 to 2013.  Multidrug resistant rates of disease decreased by 85% during the same time period.

The study team, led by Sara Tomczyk, PHN, MSc, epidemic intelligence service officer for the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, used CDC’s population-based surveillance system called Active Bacterial Core surveillance. This surveillance system includes approximately 29 million people or almost 10% of the US population. The team looked at data among children less than 5 years from 2005 to 2013. They defined any antibiotic resistance as resistance against 1 or more antibiotic classes (including penicillins, macrolides, tetracyclines, and cephalosporins), and multidrug antibiotic resistance as resistance to 3 or more antibiotic classes. They compared rates of disease before and after PCV13 introduction and then estimated cases prevented with PCV13 use.

 

 

“Our study aimed to look at the impact PCV13 has had against antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal infection,” said Tomczyk. “This study also helps evaluate our progress towards the Healthy People 2020 goal of reducing antimicrobial-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease from 9.3 to 6 cases per 100,000 children in the United States. Due to the effectiveness of PCV13, this goal was met 9 years early-the rate is currently 3.5 cases per 100,000 children.”

These results have important health implications, according to Tomczyk.

“Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat that can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become dangerous infections, prolonging suffering for those affected,” she said. “Antibiotic-resistant infections are often more expensive to treat and, in some cases, can lead to serious disability or even death.”

Antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal infections are estimated to lead to more than 19,000 excess hospitalizations, 7,000 excess deaths, and $96 million in excess medical costs per year, according to a 2013 CDC report (Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013).

“Stopping the threat of antibiotic resistance requires a multipronged approach. We recommend sustained high use of PCV13 as part of the solution in the fight against antibiotic resistant pneumococcal infections,” Tomczyk said.

Pneumococcal vaccination in children can play a unique and important role in the fight against antibiotic resistance, the authors concluded.

“Not only does PCV13 prevent pneumococcal infection, which means fewer antibiotics are prescribed, but it also prevents dangerous antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal infections, which are often more expensive to treat and, in some cases, can lead to serious disability or even death,” Tomczyk said. “We should continue to aim for sustained high use of PCV13 in the United States, as well as focus on appropriate antibiotic use, to decrease antibiotic resistance.”

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