Haemophilus influenzae Prevalence, Proportion of Capsulated Strains and Antibiotic Susceptibility During Colonization and Acute Otitis Media in Children, 2019-2020


Infectious Diseases

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The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal


Background: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, proportion of encapsulated strains and antibiotic susceptibility of Haemophilus influenzae isolated from young children.

Methods: Children, 6 months to 30 months old, were prospectively enrolled from September 2019 to September 2020 at Rochester, NY, pediatric clinics. H. influenzae isolates from nasopharynx (NP) at healthy visits and disease isolates from NP and middle ear fluid (MEF) at onset of acute otitis media (AOM) were characterized by capsular typing, β-lactamase production and antibiotic susceptibility.

Results: Samples from 565 healthy visits and 130 AOM visits were collected. H. influenzae was detected 5.9% and 27% in the NP from healthy and AOM visits, respectively. In the MEF, H. influenzae was isolated in 43% of samples. Eight percent of H. influenzae isolates were encapsulated, 88% type f. Overall 39.7% of isolates were β-lactamase producing; 43% for MEF isolates. Ampicillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, erythromycin and clarithromycin nonsusceptibility were found in more than 25% of isolates. None of the encapsulated H. influenzae isolates were positive for β-lactamase production or ampicillin nonsusceptibility. 9.2% of isolates were β-lactamase negative, ampicillin resistant (β-lactamase negative, ampicillin resistant + β-lactamase negative, ampicillin intermediate).

Conclusions: The prevalence of H. influenzae in the NP of young children is very low at times of health, but H. influenzae is highly prevalent in MEF at onset of AOM. Nontypeable H. influenzae accounts for >90% of all H. influenzae isolates. Type f predominated among encapsulated strains. β-lactamase production and antibiotic nonsusceptibility among H. influenzae strains isolated from the NP and MEF are common.


doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000003171

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