2014 outbreak at US-Mexico border linked to S. pneumoniae serotype 5
A severe disease outbreak among unaccompanied children from Central America who crossed the United States-Mexico border between June and July 2014 appears to have been caused primarily by Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 5 and influenza, according to a study presented at the CDC’s Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in Atlanta.
More than 57,000 unaccompanied children from Central America crossed the border in 2014, and in June and July, 16 unaccompanied children, aged 13 to 17 years, were hospitalized with acute respiratory illness, according to Sara Tomczyk, MSc, of the CDC’s Respiratory Diseases Branch. This prompted a four-state investigation that assessed disease transmission.
Researchers found that among the children hospitalized for respiratory infections, S. pneumoniae was detected in six of 14 who underwent blood cultures. Further genetic analysis indicated that all of the S. pneumoniae infections belonged to serotype 5, multilocus sequence type 289. Of nine children tested for influenza viruses, four were positive.
Among 48 nonhospitalized children with influenza-like illness, 46 had at least one respiratory pathogen, including: Haemophilus influenzae (n = 29), rhinoviruses (n = 21), enteroviruses (n = 19) and influenza viruses (n = 13). Among 774 asymptomatic children with adequate nasopharyngeal swabs collected to assess S. pneumoniae carriage, 24% yielded pneumococcus. Of these, 37% were serotype 5. Two related disease clusters were identified through whole-genome sequencing. – by Jen Byrne
For more information:
Tomczyk S, et al. Outbreak of Severe Respiratory Infections among Unaccompanied Children – Multiple States, June-July 2014. Presented at: Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service conference; April 20-23, 2015; Atlanta.