Assessment of the nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae and other common pathogens in healthy infants (6-30 months of age) attending day-care centers


Start of  project: 30 November 2015 – End of project: 31 December 2024

Promotors and groups involved

Center for Evaluation of Vaccination – VAXINFECTIO (Prof. Heidi Theeten)

Laboratory of Medical Microbiology – VAXINFECTIO (Prof. Surbhi Malhotra-Kumar)

A short project description

In Belgium, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) program started in 2007 with PCV7 and has moved from PCV7 to PCV13 (since 2011), then from PCV13 to PCV10 (since 2015) and in 2019, it has moved back to PCV13. In 2016, with the switch from PCV13 to PCV10, the Center for Evaluation of Vaccination started a national carriage study to investigate the nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae and other common pathogens in healthy children attending day-care centers (Npcarriage study). It is known that the PCV13 vaccine has a major impact on development of invasive pneumococcal disease in children under 2 years age. Considering that any impact on IPD would be preceded by impact on pneumococcal colonization, nasopharyngeal carriage  assessment is useful to monitor early impact of  a PCV program on pneumococcal carriage and nasopharyngeal flora. Young children are an important reservoir and major source of transmission of bacteria to the whole community and thus the preferred population to study nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococci as well as other pathogens. In the Npcarriage study, samples from about 1000 children are collected yearly to monitor the carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae as well as the carriage of Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Moraxella catarrhalis and Haemophilus influenzae. With the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the carriage of SARS-CoV-2 has also been monitored in this child population. In an additional project, in the same study population, the dynamics of pneumococcal carriage, (vaccine) serotypes and interactions with other respiratory tract organisms before and during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic will be assessed.  ​

Visit the website (NL) for more information and results of the study