Childhood Deaths Attributable to Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in England and Wales, 2006-2014

Godwin Oligbu, Sarah Collins, Carmen L. Sheppard, Norman Fry, Mary Slack, Raymond Borrow, Shamez Ladhani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) are highly effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), but deaths due to IPD still occur. We aimed to describe children who died of IPD since PCV introduction in England and Wales. Methods. Public Health England conducts enhanced IPD surveillance in England and Wales. IPD cases in PCV-eligible children aged <5 years (born since 4 September 2004 and diagnosed between 4 September 2006 and 3 September 2014) were actively followed up by postal questionnaires and, for fatal cases, detailed information was requested prospectively from multiple sources. Results. During the 8-year period, there were 3146 IPD cases and 150 IPD-related deaths (case fatality rate, 4.8%). Overall, 132 isolates from fatal cases were serotyped (88%) and 35 distinct serotypes were identified, with no serotype predominance. Most deaths occurred in children aged <1 year (88/150 [59%]) and 1-year-olds (36/150 [24%]). One-third (53/150 [35%]) had a known risk factor for IPD. Clinical presentation varied with age but not by serotypes in the different conjugate vaccines. Meningitis was diagnosed in nearly half the fatal cases (71/150 [47%]). The IPD-related mortality rate declined after 7-valent PCV introduction from 1.25/100000 children in 2006-2007 to 0.60/100000 in 2009-2010, with a further reduction following 13-valent PCV introduction from April 2010 to 0.39/100000 in 2013-2014 (14 deaths; incidence rate ratio, 0.31 [95% confidence interval,.16-.61]; P =.0003), when most deaths were due to nonvaccine serotypes or in neonates. Conclusions. Most fatal IPD cases are currently not vaccine-preventable. Additional strategies will be required to reduce childhood pneumococcal deaths in countries with established pneumococcal vaccination programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • case fatality.
  • conjugate vaccines
  • mortality
  • pneumococcal disease


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