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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 215-220
Original Article

Epidemiological and Economic Burden of Pneumococcal Disease in Canadian Children

Geneviève Petit,1 Philippe De Wals,2,3 Barbara Law,4 Theresa Tam,5 Lonny James Erickson,6 Maryse Guay,1,3,6 and Alicia Framarin7

1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
2Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
3National Public Health Institute, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
4Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
5Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
6Regional Health Board of Montérégie, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada
7Quebec Agency for Health Services and Technology Assessment, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Received 4 December 2002; Accepted 17 April 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: With the arrival of a new conjugate pneumococcal vaccine, it is important to estimate the burden of pneumococcal diseases in Canadian children. The epidemiological data and the economic cost of these diseases are crucial elements in evaluating the relevance of a vaccination program.

METHODS: Using provincial databases, ad hoc surveys and published data, age-specific incidence rates of pneumococcal infections were estimated in a cohort of 340,000 children between six months and nine years of age. The costs of these diseases to the health system and to families were also evaluated using data from Quebec and Manitoba.

RESULTS: Cumulative risks were one in 5000 for pneumococcal meningitis, one in 500 for bacteremia and one in 20 for pneumonia, leading to 16 deaths in the cohort. About 262,000 otitis media episodes and 32,000 cases of myringotomy with ventilation tube insertion were attributable to Streptococcus pneumoniae. Societal costs were estimated at $125 million, of which 32% was borne by the health system and 68% was borne by families. Invasive infections represented only 2% of total costs, while 84% were generated by otitis media.

CONCLUSION: Pneumococcal infections represent a significant burden for Canadian children and society that could be significantly reduced through immunization.