Distinct Streptococcus pneumoniae cause invasive disease in Papua New Guinea

Kate C. Mellor, Stephanie Lo, Mition Yoannes, Audrey Michael, Tilda Orami, Andrew R. Greenhill, Robert F. Breiman, Paulina Hawkins, Lesley McGee, Stephen D. Bentley, Rebecca L. Ford, Deborah Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a key contributor to childhood morbidity and mortality in Papua New Guinea (PNG). For the first time, whole genome sequencing of 174 isolates has enabled detailed characterisation of diverse S. pneumoniae causing invasive disease in young children in PNG, 1989-2014. This study captures the baseline S. pneumoniae population prior to the introduction of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) into the national childhood immunisation programme in 2014. Relationships amongst lineages, serotypes and antimicrobial resistance traits were characterised, and the population was viewed in the context of a global collection of isolates. The analyses highlighted adiverse S. pneumoniae population associated with invasive disease in PNG, with 45 unique Global Pneumococcal Sequence Clusters (GPSCs) observed amongst the 174 isolates reflecting multiple lineages observed in PNG that have not been identified in other geographic locations. The majority of isolates were from children with meningitis, of which 52% (n=72) expressed non-PCV13 serotypes. Over a third of isolates were predicted to be resistant to at least one antimicrobial. PCV13 serotype isolates had 10.1 times the odds of being multidrug-resistant (MDR) compared to non-vaccine serotype isolates, and no isolates with GPSCs unique to PNG were MDR. Serotype 2 was the most commonly identified serotype; we identified a highly clonal cluster of serotype 2 isolates unique to PNG, and a distinct second cluster indicative of long-distance transmission. Ongoing surveillance, including whole-genome sequencing, is needed to ascertain the impact of the national PCV13 programme upon the S. pneumoniae population, including serotype replacement and antimicrobial resistance traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000835
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


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