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Pneumococcal Infections After Human Bone-Marrow Transplantation

DREW J. WINSTON, M.D.; GERALD SCHIFFMAN, Ph.D.; DAISY C. WANG; STEVEN A. FEIG, M.D.; CHENG-HSIEN LIN; EUGENE L. MARSO; WINSTON G. HO, M.D.; LOWELL S. YOUNG, M.D.; and ROBERT P. GALE, M.D., Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Drew J. Winston, M.D.; Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences; Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Los Angeles, California; and Brooklyn, New York


Ann Intern Med. 1979;91(6):835-841. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-91-6-835
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Seven of 26 long-term survivors (> 7 months post-transplant) of bone-marrow transplantation developed penicillin-sensitive pneumococcal infections more than 7 months after transplantation. One patient had two infections. Six of eight infections were associated with pneumococcal bacteremia, and Streptococcus pneumoniae type 6A was isolated in three cases. Two infections were fatal. All patients had normal nematopoietic function, and none was receiving immunosuppressive therapy. The development of pneumococcal infection was significantly associated with males and with abnormally low or high serum IgG and IgM levels but not with graft-versus-host disease. Serum opsonic activity for S. pneumoniae type 6A was decreased in six of the seven patients when compared to normal pooled serum in an in-vitro bactericidal assay. Four of the six patients with impaired opsonic activity had low serum antibody levels for S. pneumoniae type 6A capsular polysaccharide, while the other two patients had low serum CH100 complement activity. Bone-marrow transplant recipients have an increased susceptibility to pneumococcal infections and should be evaluated for prophylactic penicillin or pneumococcal vaccination.

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