Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Prevention of pneumococcal infection in children with homozygous sickle cell disease.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 26 May 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1567
  1. A B John,
  2. A Ramlal,
  3. H Jackson,
  4. G H Maude,
  5. A W Sharma,
  6. G R Serjeant


    The efficacy of prophylactic penicillin and of 14 valent pneumococcal vaccine in preventing pneumococcal infection in homozygous sickle cell (SS) disease was investigated in 242 children aged 6 months to 3 years at entry. In the first five years of the trial there were 11 pneumococcal infections in the pneumococcal vaccine treated group, 10 by serotypes present in the vaccine. Type 23 accounted for five of these, and there was evidence of higher infection rates in those given the vaccine before age 1. No pneumococcal isolations occurred in the penicillin group while receiving penicillin, although four isolations occurred within one year of stopping penicillin. Probably the most effective prophylaxis against pneumococcal infection requires penicillin beyond the age of 3. The age at which pneumococcal vaccine should be given must await further data on antibody response and clinical efficacy in these patients.