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Keywords:

  • pneumococcus;
  • otitis media;
  • PspA;
  • capsular serotypes;
  • BOX PCR

Abstract

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main causative agent of acute otitis media in children. Serotype-based vaccines have provided some protection against otitis media, but not as much as anticipated, demonstrating the need for alternative vaccine options. Pneumococcal otitis media isolates were obtained from children 5 years old or younger from hospitals around Mississippi in the prevaccine era (1999–2000). These isolates were compared by capsular typing, pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) family typing, antibiotic susceptibility, and DNA fingerprinting. Our study shows that there is great genetic variability among pneumococcal clinical isolates of otitis media, except with regard to PspA. Therefore, efforts focused on the development of a PspA-based pneumococcal vaccine would be well placed.