BACKGROUND: Recurrent invasive pneumococcal disease (rIPD) occurs mostly in children with an underlying disease, but some cases remain unexplained. Immunodeficiency has been described in children with rIPD, but the prevalence is unknown. We used a nationwide registry of all laboratory-confirmed cases of rIPD to identify cases of unexplained rIPD and examine them for immunodeficiency.
METHODS: Cases of rIPD in children 0-15 years of age from 1980 to 2008 were identified. Children without an obvious underlying disease were screened for complement function, T-cell, B-cell, natural killer--cell counts and concentration of immunoglobulins. B-cell function was evaluated by measuring antibody response to polysaccharide-based pneumococcal vaccination and the extent of fraction of somatic hypermutation. Toll-Like receptor (TLR) signaling function and mutations in key TLR-signaling molecules were examined.
RESULTS: In total, rIPD were observed in 54 children (68 cases of rIPD of 2192 IPD cases). Children with classical risk factors for IPD were excluded, and among the remaining 22 children, 15 were eligible for analysis. Of these 6 (40%) were complement C2-deficient. Impaired vaccination response was found in 6 children of whom 3 were C2 deficient. One patient had a severe TLR signaling dysfunction. No mutations in IRAK4, IKBKG or MYD88 were found.
CONCLUSION: Of an unselected cohort of children with rIPD at least 11% were C2 deficient. Data suggest that screening for complement deficiencies and deficient antibody response to pneumococcal vaccines in patients with more than 1 episode of IPD is warranted.