Open Access

Aetiology of paediatric pneumonia with effusion in the Dominican Republic and the potential impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines

  • Jesús Feris-Iglesiasa12Email author,
  • Josefina Fernández12,
  • Jacqueline Sánchez12,
  • Fabiana Pimenta22,
  • Chabela Peña12,
  • Hilma Coradin12,
  • Eddy Perez-Thena12,
  • Maria Peinadoc32,
  • Angélica Floren32,
  • Teresa Del Moral32,
  • Dean Erdmanb22,
  • Maria da Gloria Carvalhob22 and
  • Jennifer R. Verani22

Received: 22 November 2013

Accepted: 26 March 2014

Published: 2 June 2014


Pleural effusion is a serious complication of pneumonia, and Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause. We describe the aetiology of pneumonia with effusion among children in the Dominican Republic before the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in 2013 and the performance characteristics of a rapid immunochromatographic test (ICT) for detecting S. pneumoniae in pleural fluid. From July 2009 to June 2011, we enrolled children <15 years old admitted with pneumonia and pleural effusion to Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital, Dominican Republic. Pleural fluid was tested by culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for bacterial (S. pyogenes, S. pneumoniae) and viral (respiratory syncytial virus and human rhinovirus) pathogens, and by ICT for S. pneumoniae. We calculated the performance of ICT and culture compared with PCR. Among 121 cases, the median age was 31 months (range 1 week to 14 years). Pleural fluid culture (n = 121) and PCR testing (n = 112) identified an aetiology in 85 (70.2%) cases, including 62 S. pneumoniae (51.2%) and 19 Staphylococcus aureus (15.7%). The viruses tested were not detected. The most prevalent pneumococcal serotypes were 14 (n = 20), 1 (n = 13), and 3 (n = 12). Serotype coverage of the 10- and 13-valent PCVs would be 70.5% and 95.1%, respectively. The sensitivity of point-of-care ICT was 100% (95% confidence interval [CI] 94.1%–100%), while specificity was 86.3% (95% CI 73.7%–94.3%). S. pneumoniae caused more than half of paediatric pneumonia with effusion cases; introduction of PCV in the Dominican Republic could reduce the burden by 36–49%. ICT is a practical, valid diagnostic tool for clinical care and surveillance in settings with limited laboratory capacity.


pneumoniapleural effusion Streptococcus pneumoniae pneumococcal vaccinesDominican Republic