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Changes in the epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance patterns of Streptococcus pneumoniae from pediatric community acquired pneumonia patients attended in a Chinese hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the infection dynamics of numerous pathogens. This study aimed to elucidate its impact on Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) infections in children with community acquired pneumonia (CAP).


A retrospective analysis was conducted in pediatric CAP patients admitted before (2018–2019) and during (2020–2022) the COVID-19 pandemic. The epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) patterns of S. pneumoniae were compared to reveal the impact of the pandemic.


A total of 968 S. pneumoniae-associated pediatric CAP patients were enrolled. Although the positivity rate and gender of patients were stable across both periods, the age notably increased in 2021 and 2022. Additionally, significant changes were observed in the co-infections with several pathogens and the resistance rates to certain antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resistance rate to clindamycin and quinupristin-dalfopristin increased, whereas the resistance rate to tetracycline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, telithromycin, and proportion of multi-drug resistant isolates decreased. The number of S. pneumoniae strains and resistant isolates exhibited similar seasonal patterns in 2018 and 2019, peaking in November or December with another minor peak in March or April. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a sharp decrease in February 2020 and no resurgence was observed at the end of 2022. Additionally, the minor peak was absent in 2020 and shifted to other months in 2021 and 2022.


The COVID-19 pandemic has markedly altered the infection spectrum of S. pneumoniae in pediatric CAP patients, as evidenced by shifts in the age of patients, respiratory co-infections, AMR patterns, and seasonal trends.

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Data availability

The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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Authors and Affiliations



Ling Ai, Chanjuan Zhou, Liang Fang, and Beizhong Liu: Investigation, Data curation, Writing-Original draft preparation, Conceptualization, Methodology, Software; Fang Gong: Visualization, Writing-Reviewing, Validation, Supervision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Fang Gong.

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The study protocol was approved by the ethics committee of the Yongchuan Hospital of Chongqing Medical University (No. 2023-KeLunShen-76).

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As a retrospective study, the need for informed consent was waived.

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Ai, L., Zhou, C., Fang, L. et al. Changes in the epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance patterns of Streptococcus pneumoniae from pediatric community acquired pneumonia patients attended in a Chinese hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Infection (2024).

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