DENVER — Developing a vaccine against group A streptococcusin young children would allow protection before the risk period, researchers reported here at the 2013 Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
“Although group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common infection in childhood, causing rheumatic fever, cellulitis, pneumonia and the most common bacterial cause of pharyngitis, no vaccine is available to prevent the infection,” Robert W. Frenck, Jr., MD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and colleagues wrote. “A better understanding of the epidemiology of GAS colonization, GAS pharyngitis, case definition, age at first exposure and seroprevalence in a healthy pediatric population is critical for optimal development of a GAS vaccine.”
The 2-year longitudinal, epidemiology study included 422 healthy children aged 3 to 12 years. Researchers collected throat swabs at baseline and every 3 months to evaluate GASpharyngeal colonization. Age groups were: 3 to 5 years (n=140), 6 to 9 years (n=141) and 10 to 12 years (n=141).
Researchers found that, overall, the highest prevalence of GAScolonization was in the youngest age group (63%). There also was a trend for more GASpharyngitis cases in the youngest group.
“These data suggest that children are exposed to GAS early in life (<3 years) which may be an important observation for vaccine development and implementation,” according to a presentation at the meeting.
For more information:
Frenck RW. Abstract G-995. Presented at: ICAAC 2013; Sept. 9-13, 2013; Denver.
Disclosure: Robert W. Frenck Jr. reports being an investigator for GlaxoSmithKline, LigoCyte, and Pfizer. The other researchers are employees of Pfizer.