There are at least 2 reasons for considering pneumococcal vaccination in hospitalized patients with ulcerative colitis flare.
First, these patients are often on immunosuppressants (eg, glucocorticoids) or biological agents (eg, infliximab) that qualifies them for both 13-valent conjugate (PCV13) and 23-valent polysaccharide (PPSV23) pneumococcal vaccines under the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Guidelines’ “Immunocompromised persons” risk group.1-4
Another reason is the possibility of UC patients having coexisting hyposplenism, a major risk factor for pneumococcal disease. Although this association has been described several times in the literature since 1970s, it is relatively less well known. In a study of patients with UC, hyposplenism (either by the presence of Howell-Jolly bodies in the peripheral blood smear or prolongation of clearance from blood of injected radioactively labelled heat-damaged red blood cells) was found in over one-third with some developing life-threatening septicemia in the early postcolectomy period.5
Another study found the majority of patients with UC having slow clearance of heat damaged RBCs despite absence of Howell-Jolly bodies in the peripheral smear.6 Fulminant and fatal pneumococcal sepsis has also been reported in patients with UC.7
Although the immunological response to pneumococcal vaccination may be lower among immunosuppressed patients in general, including those with UC, it should still be administered to this population given its potential benefit in reducing the risk of serious pneumococcal disease. 2,3
- CDC. Intervals between PCV13 and PSV23 vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2015;64:944-47. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6434a4.htm
- Carrera E, Manzano r, Garrido. Efficacy of the vaccination in inflammatory bowel disease. World J Gastroenterol 2013;19:1349-53. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3602493/
- Reich J, Wasan S, Farraye FA. Vaccinating patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol 2016;12:540-46. http://www.gastroenterologyandhepatology.net/archives/september-2016/vaccinating-patients-with-inflammatory-bowel-disease/
- Chaudrey K, Salvaggio M, Ahmed A, et al. Updates in vaccination: recommendations for adult inflammatory bowel disease patients. World J Gastroenterol 2015;21:3184-96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25805924
- Ryan FP, Smart RC, Holdworth CD, et al. Hyposplenism in inflammatory bowel disease. Gut 1978;19:50-55. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1411782/
- Jewell DP, Berney JJ, Pettit JE. Splenic phagocytic function in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Pathology 1981;13:717-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7335378
- Van der Hoeven JG, de Koning J, Masclee AM et al. Fatal pneumococcal septic shock in a patient with ulcerative colitis. Clin Infec Dis 1996;22:860-1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8722951
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The popular urine pneumococcal antigen (UPA) (based on the C-polysaccharide of Streptococcus pneumoniae cell wall) has been a valuable diagnostic tool in diagnosing invasive pneumococcal infections, but may be associated with up to nearly 10% rate of false-positivity in hospitalized patients1. Three factors have often been cited as the cause of false-positive UPA results: a. Nasopharyngeal carriage; b.Prior invasive pneumococcal infection and; c. Pneumococcal vaccination.
Among adults with nasopharyngeal carriage of S. pneumoniae, particularly those with HIV infection, 12-17% of positive UPA tests may be false-positive1. In patients with recent invasive pneumococcal disease, UAP may remain positive in over 50% of patient at 1 month and about 5% at 6 months1,2.
Among persons receiving the 23-valent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine (PPV), over 20% may have a positive UPA up to 30 hours following immunization, some potentially longer1. In fact, the manufacturer of UPA assay recommends that UPA not be obtained within 5 days of receiving PPV. There is reason to believe that conjugated pneumococcal vaccine may be associated with the same phenomenon3.
So in a hospitalized patient with low suspicion for pneumococcal disease but a positive UAP, it would be wise to first exclude the possibility of PPV administration earlier during hospitalization before the sample was obtained1,4.
- Ryscavage PA, Noskin GA, Bobb A, et al. Incidence and impact of false-positive urine pneumococcal antigen testing in hospitalized patients. S Med J 2011;104:293-97.
- Andre F, Prat C, Ruiz-Manzano J, et al. Persistence of Streptococcus pneumoniae urinary antigen excretion after pneumococcal pneumonia. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 2009;28:197-201.
- Navarro D, Garcia-Maset Leonor, Gimeno C, et al. Performance of the Binax NOW Streptococcus pneumoniae urinary assay for diagnosis of pneumonia in children with underlying pulmonary diseases in the absence of acute pneumococcal infection. J Clin Microbiol 2004; 42: 4853-55.
- Song JY, Eun BW, Nahm MH. Diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia: current pitfalls and the way forward. Infect Chemother 2013;45:351-66.
Since August, 2014, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended routine use of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugated vaccine (PCV13, Prevnar) in adults ≥ 65 years, in addition to the traditional 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23, Pneumovax) (1). The approval of PCV13 was based on a large randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (CAPITA) that found PCV13 effective in preventing vaccine-type pneumococcal, bacteremic, and nonbacteremic community-acquired pneumonia and vaccine-type invasive pneumococcal disease (2).
Due to the potential for mutual interference with immunogenecity, these 2 vaccines should be spaced apart. When PPSV23 is administered first, PCV13 should be held for 1 year or longer. On the other hand, when PCV13 is administered first, PPSV23 can be given within 6-12 months (minimum 8 weeks). So it makes sense to give PCV13 first in our older pneumococcal vaccine-naive patients.
1. Tomczyk S, Bennett NM, Stoecker C, et al. Use of 13-valent pneumococcal conjuage vaccine and 23-valent penumococcal polysaccharide vaccine among adults aged ≥65 years: recommendations of the Advisory Committe on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR;2014:63: 822-25.
2. Bonten MJM, Huijts, M, Bolkenbaas C, et al. Polysaccharide conjugate vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia in adults. N Engl J Med 2015;372:1114-25.