Rate of isolation of streptococcus species from children with bacterial infections: an indication for introduction of streptococcal vaccines
Background: Streptococcus species are among the commonest bacterial causes of childhood morbidity in developing countries. Streptococcal diseases in children have not been as well characterized in Nigeria as it has been in industrialized countries. The rudimentary nature of public health surveillance makes the true epidemiology of the disease difficult to ascertain. The predominance of Streptococcus pneumoniae in the causation of invasive diseases has led to the advocacy of inclusion of pneumococcal vaccine in the National Programme on Immunization. However, local data critical to inform on vaccine deployment are scarce, thus the need for the present study. Objective: To study the rate of isolation of Streptococcus species from children aged zero to 15 years, with suspected bacterial infections. Materials and Methods: Laboratory records of results of bacteriological studies of samples from children with suspected bacterial infections in University of Abuja Teaching Hospital from January 2008 through December, 2010 were retrieved and analyzed for bacterial growth. Data analysis Version 3.5.1. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: A total of 2,247 samples were received during the study period. Of the 1,242 bacteria isolated, 502 (40.4%) were Staphylococcus aureus, 232 (18.7%) were Escherichia coli and 146 (11.8%) were Streptococcus species: 78 were isolated from blood, 9 from sputum, 11 from throat swabs and 28 from other sites while urine and eye swabs had 10 each. One hundred and six (72.6%) of the streptococci were from children aged 5 years and below. Most of the Streptococci (88.1%) were untyped. Among the 17 Streptococcal isolates typed, 10 were Streptococcus pneumoniae and three were group B Streptococcus. Conclusion: Streptococcal infections remain an important cause of severe disease in children in Nigeria. The use of effective, safe and affordable vaccine could significantly reduce morbidity from these infections, thus suggesting the need for more studies to conclude on streptococcal vaccine deployment.
Key words: Streptococcal infections, Nigeria, Streptococcal vaccines