Polyvalent pneumococcal-polysaccharide immunization of patients with sickle-cell anemia and patients with splenectomy

The New England Journal of Medicine
A J AmmannW C Mentzer

Abstract

To reduce the risk of infection from Streptococcus pneumoniae in hyposplenic patients we administered octavalent pneumococcal vaccine to 77 patients with sickle-cell disease and 19 asplenic persons and compared their response with 82 controls (38 age-matched normal persons and 44 normal black African children). Fifty micrograms each of pneumococcal-polysaccharide Types 1, 3, 6, 7, 14, 18, 19, and 23 were administered subcutaneously. Post-immunization serums (three to four weeks) were available from 52 of 77 patients with sickle-cell disease; the percent responding and the magnitude of the indirect hemagglutination response were comparable to those of the controls. Within two years after immunization we observed eight Str. pneumoniae infections in 106 age-matched unimmunized patients with sickle-cell disease, but none in the 77 immunized (P less than 0.025). We conclude that pneumococcal polysaccharides are immunogenic in hyposplenic patients and may protect against systemic Str. pneumoniae infection.

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