Pneumococcal carriage, serotype distribution, and antimicrobial susceptibility in Papua New Guinean children vaccinated with PCV10 or PCV13 in a head-to-head trial

Tilda Orami, Celestine Aho, Rebecca L. Ford, William S. Pomat, Andrew Greenhill, Lea Ann Kirkham, Geraldine Masiria, Birunu Nivio, Kathryn J. Britton, Peter Jacoby, Peter C. Richmond, Anita H.J. van den Biggelaar, Deborah Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are at high risk of pneumococcal infections. We investigated pneumococcal carriage rates, serotype distribution, and antimicrobial susceptibility in PNG children after vaccination with 10-valent or 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV10; PCV13). Methods: Infants (N = 262) were randomized to receive 3 doses of PCV10 or PCV13 at 1-2-3 months of age, followed by pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination (PPV) or no PPV at 9 months of age. Nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) collected at ages 1, 4, 9, 10, 23 and 24 months were cultured using standard bacteriological procedures. Morphologically distinct Streptococcus pneumoniae colonies were serotyped by the Quellung reaction. Antimicrobial susceptibility was determined by Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). Results: S. pneumoniae was isolated from 883/1063 NPS collected at 1–23 months of age, including 820 serotypeable (64 different serotypes) and 144 non-serotypeable isolates. At age 23 months, 93.6% (95%CI 86.6–97.6%) of PCV10 recipients and 88.6% (95%CI 80.1–94.4%) of PCV13 recipients were pneumococcal carriers, with higher carriage of PCV10 serotypes by PCV10 recipients (19.8%, 95%CI 12.2–29.5) than PCV13 recipients (9.3%, 95%CI 4.1–17.3) (p = 0.049). There were no other statistically significant differences between PCV10 and PCV13 recipients and children receiving PPV or no PPV. Nearly half (45.6%) of carried pneumococci were non-susceptible to penicillin based on the meningitis breakpoint (MIC ≥ 0.12 µg/mL), but resistance was rare (1.1%) using the non-meningitis cut-off (MIC ≥ 8 µg/mL). Non-susceptibility to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (SXT) was common: 23.2% of isolates showed intermediate resistance (MIC 1/19–2/38 µg/mL) and 16.9% full resistance (MIC ≥ 4/76 µg/mL). PCV serotypes 14 and 19A were commonly non-susceptible to both penicillin (14, 97%; 19A, 70%) and SXT (14, 97%; 19A, 87%). Conclusion: Even after PCV10 or PCV13 vaccination, children living in a high-risk setting such as PNG continue to experience high levels of pneumococcal colonization, including carriage of highly antimicrobial-resistant PCV serotypes. The study is registered with (CTN NCT01619462).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5392-5399
Number of pages8
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2023


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