Updated on 18 September 2012
Explaining the pneumococcal surveillance system, Dr K L Ravikumar, professor and head, department of microbiology, KIMS said, "Data and isolates collected from 15 centers across the country will be archived at KIMS pneumococcal research laboratory. Surveillance for pneumococcal disease will be conducted using a variety of lab based methods and diagnostic tools. Epidemiological surveillance of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis across various age groups will be conducted as per the WHO surveillance guidelines."
"Organisms will be characterized, serotyped and archived for future access up to 30 years to contribute to the research activities. This data will be useful for decision-making for incorporating new vaccines in the national vaccination schedules, to assess the impact of vaccines already used and to provide guidelines for the rational use of antimicrobial drugs." He also added that the study done spanned last three years and it is the first time that there is an active surveillance program was launched for pneumonia.
Explaining the surveillance model, Dr RaviKumar added that "the surveillance model will help identify high risk groups, disease causing serotypes, monitor antibiotics susceptibility patterns, treatment priorities, prevention strategies and will provide information for vaccine development, its effectiveness and its cost benefits. The model will help build awareness on the disease burden to evaluate health impacts and will help policy makers to plan appropriate interventions."
Agreeing with Dr RaviKumar, Dr Nisarga, professor and HOD, Department of Pediatrics, AIMS, Bellur, added that "There are 93 different serotypes (bacteria groups) of Streptococcus pneumoniae, however, not all serotypes cause the disease. This is why it is important to know the serotypes causing the disease in India which will help in developing proper preventive strategies including vaccination."
"According to the PneumoNET study conducted in Bangalore certain serotypes such as 6A and 19A are most prevalent. The study which was conducted to identify the most prevalent serotypes in India has reinforced the need for serotyping". He also mentioned that this study had found new serotypes of the S. pneumoniae strain such as serotype 3 which was not found earlier in India but was now prevalent in this study. These three serotypes accounted for 28 percent of the infected samples that were received by the group.