This meeting was aimed at reviewing the state-of-the-art knowledge regarding the diagnosis of pneumococcal disease with a focus on laboratory tools for the detection and characterization of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Indeed, acute lower respiratory infections are still the first cause of death of children below five years of age and the majority are linked to Streptococcus pneumoniae. The recent introduction of pneumococcal vaccination in industrialized countries has dramatically reduced the mortality due to the disease but also emphasized the need for better laboratory tools to confirm its diagnosis, conduct epidemiological surveillance and evaluate the efficacy of vaccination campaigns.
Along with ambitious strategies to implement pneumococcal vaccination in the developing world, the availability of these tools and their adaptation to local constraints and epidemiological settings will become even more crucial.
41 experts from all the continents shared their knowledge and experience in order to define the most adapted strategies to improve the laboratory management of the pneumococcal disease. They reviewed technologies for Streptococcus pneumoniae detection in respiratory specimens, blood or urine and its typing for a better use of pneumococcal vaccines. Despite significant progresses, sensitive diagnostics for the pneumococcal disease and laboratory techniques to measure vaccine efficacy are still missing, affecting both individual patients treatment and vaccination campaigns. However, the spectacular progresses of technologies for multiparametric detection, microarrays, proteomics and sequencing allow new research approaches such as the identification of new diagnostic markers.