Background: An outbreak of pneumococcal meningitis among non-infant children and adults occurred in the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana between December 2015 and April 2016 despite the recent nationwide implementation of a vaccination programme for infants with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13).
Methods: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens were collected from patients with suspected meningitis in the Brong-Ahafo region. CSF specimens were subjected to Gram staining, culture and rapid antigen testing. Quantitative PCR was performed to identify pneumococcus, meningococcus and Haemophilus influenzae. Latex agglutination and molecular serotyping were performed on samples. Antibiogram and whole genome sequencing were performed on pneumococcal isolates.
Results: Eight hundred eighty six patients were reported with suspected meningitis in the Brong-Ahafo region during the period of the outbreak. In the epicenter district, the prevalence was as high as 363 suspected cases per 100,000 people. Over 95 % of suspected cases occurred in non-infant children and adults, with a median age of 20 years. Bacterial meningitis was confirmed in just under a quarter of CSF specimens tested. Pneumococcus, meningococcus and Group B Streptococcus accounted for 77 %, 22 % and 1 % of confirmed cases respectively. The vast majority of serotyped pneumococci (80 %) belonged to serotype 1. Most of the pneumococcal isolates tested were susceptible to a broad range of antibiotics, with the exception of two pneumococcal serotype 1 strains that were resistant to both penicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. All sequenced pneumococcal serotype 1 strains belong to Sequence Type (ST) 303 in the hypervirulent ST217 clonal complex.
Conclusion: The occurrence of a pneumococcal serotype 1 meningitis outbreak three years after the introduction of PCV13 is alarming and calls for strengthening of meningitis surveillance and a re-evaluation of the current vaccination programme in high risk countries.
- Serotype 1
- Meningitis belt
- West Africa
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
- DETERMINING CAPSULAR SEROTYPES
- SEQUENTIAL MULTIPLEX PCR
- NURSING-HOME RESIDENTS
- MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS