New Strains of HUS Have New Vaccine

Hemolytic uremic syndrome may have been avoided with the new vaccine PCV13

(RxWiki News) Frightening times await parents of infants who are in the intensive care unit (ICU). Is there something that could have been done to prevent the lockdown in the ICU?

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a disease that causes destruction of red blood cells which can lead to acute kidney failure. HUS usually occurs because of a reacion to E. coli, but it can also stem from other infections, including Streptococcus pneumoniae (SP) too.

A study from the Mayo Clinic concludes that most new cases of HUS, a disease mainly occurring in infants and small children, may have been avoided with the new vaccine PCV13. This new vaccine contains six new additional strains of the bacteria causing HUS, including serotype 19A.

"Ask your pediatrician about the new PCV13 vaccine."

Ritu Banerjee, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, reports that their research indicates that a new vaccine will probably reduce the number of childhood SP-HUS cases.

Dr. Banerjee and coauthors are hopeful that these findings will shed light on this serious, rare childhood disease. They report all serotypes that are related to SP-HUS are addressed in the PCV13 vaccine. This particular vaccine is likely to decrease the cases of SP-HUS and the associated tragedies that can ensue.

The new study reviewed 37 cases of SP-HUS where the children had already received the PCV7 vaccine. Almost all these cases were caused by pneumococcal strains not addressed by the PCV7 vaccine, serotype 19A in particular. The new PCV13 vaccine protects against six more types of pneumococcal bacteria, including the problematic serotype 19A.

The median age of the patients reviewed was 2 years of age. Most of them had pneumonia and a blood infection caused by pneumococcal bacteria while the rest had other infections like meningitis. Of the seriously ill children in the study, 95 percent required intensive care unit observation with mechanical ventilation and surgery for chest and lung infection.

Almost 75 percent of these patients developed kidney failure that required dialysis, with 10 percent ultimately receiving a kidney transplant. Permanent neurological abnormalities occurred in four of these children, while one patient died. After six months, 25 percent of the children were still on dialysis.

This study appears in the September issue of peer-reviewed journal, The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Review Date: 
August 29, 2011