PloS one 2017 01 2312(1) e0170412 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0170412
S. pneumoniae is a leading cause of meningitis morbidity and mortality in the African meningitis belt, but little is known of its contribution to the burden of pneumonia in the region. We aimed to estimate the incidence of pneumococcal disease in children and adults in northern Togo, before the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).
METHODS AND FINDINGS
From May 1st 2010 to April 30th 2013, we systematically enrolled all hospitalized patients meeting a case definition of suspected meningitis or clinical pneumonia, residing in Tone or Cinkasse districts, northern Togo and providing informed consent. We collected clinical data and tested biological specimens according to standardized procedures, including bacteriology and PCR testing of cerebro-spinal fluid for meningitis patients and blood cultures and whole blood lytA PCR for pneumonia patients. Chest X-rays (CXR) were interpreted using the WHO methodology. We included 404 patients with meningitis (104 <5 years of age) and 1550 with pneumonia (251 <5 years) over the study period. Of these, 78 (19%) had pneumococcal meningitis (13 <5 years), 574 (37%) had radiologically-confirmed pneumonia (83 <5 years) and 73 (5%) had culture-confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia (2 <5 years). PCV13 serotypes caused 79% (54/68) of laboratory-confirmed pneumococcal meningitis and 83% (29/35) of culture-confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia. Serotype 1 predominated in meningitis (n = 33) but not in pneumonia patients (n = 1). The incidence of pneumococcal disease was 7.5 per 100,000 among children <5 years of age and 14.8 in persons 5 years of age and above in the study area. When considering CXR-confirmed and blood PCR-positive pneumonia cases as likely pneumococcal, incidence estimates increased to 43.7 and 66.0 per 100,000 in each of these age groups, respectively. Incidence was at least 3-fold higher when we restricted the analysis to the urban area immediately around the study hospitals. CONCLUSIONS
Our findings highlight the important role of S. pneumoniae as a meningitis and pneumonia-causing pathogen in the African meningitis belt. Pneumococcal disease incidence in our population was substantially lower than expected from global models; we hypothesize that poor access to hospital care led us to substantially underestimate the burden of disease. Surveillance is ongoing and will enable an evaluation of PCV impact, providing novel, high quality data from the region.