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June 1972


Am J Dis Child. 1972;123(6):614-615. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110120138031

To the Editor.—This letter is prompted by the article of Seeler et al (Amer J Dis Child 123:8-10, 1972) and by the editorial of Lukens (123:6-7, 1972), both of which express a pessimistic outlook regarding the potential utility of pneumococcal vaccines for the prevention of pneumococcal infections in children with sickle cell anemia. A more optimistic view of prophylactic vaccination seems warranted, perhaps, although extrapolations based upon the small sample reported by Seeler et al must be guarded.

Study of pneumococcal infection in large numbers of both children and adults demonstrates clearly that the preponderance of such infections is caused by a limited number of the 82 pneumococcal capsular types, although there are some clear-cut differences in the types afflicting these two segments of the population. Among more than 2,000 pneumococcal bacteremias occurring in adults in the United States in the past five years, over half were caused by pneumococcal