Characteristics of Streptococcus pneumoniae Strains Colonizing Upper Respiratory Tract of Healthy Preschool Children in Poland
Nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis in 226 children in different settings (in a crèche [day care center], in an orphanage, and at home) during two seasons (winter and spring) was studied. The rates of carriage of S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae were markedly higher in the crèche and in the orphanage than in the home setting (e.g., 56.5, 63.3, and 25.9%, respectively, for S. pneumoniae in winter). Approximately 80% of the S. pneumoniae isolates identified in the crèche and in the orphanage belonged to the serotypes represented in the seven-valent pneumococcal vaccine, and 4.4% of the children were colonized by H. influenzae type b. Almost all H. influenzae isolates were fully susceptible to the antimicrobial agents tested, and only five (3.6%) produced beta-lactamase; in contrast, 100% of the M. catarrhalis isolates were beta-lactamase positive. Among S. pneumoniae isolates, 36.2% were nonsusceptible to penicillin (PNSP) and 11.8% were fully resistant to penicillin (PRP). All PNSP isolates were obtained from children at the crèche and at the orphanage but not among children brought up at home, and all PRP isolates showed a multiresistant phenotype. Colonization by PRP isolates correlated well with prior treatment with beta-lactams. For the majority of children colonized at both sampling times, strain replacement of S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae was observed; long-term colonization by a single strain was rare.