Objective: To assess whether the influenza peak in populations precedes the annual peak for invasive pneumococcal infections (IPI) in winter.
Design: Ecological study. Active surveillance data on influenza A and IPI in children up to 16 years of age collected from 1997 to 2003 were analysed.
Setting: Paediatric hospitals in Germany.
Patients: Children under 16 years of age.
Results: In all years under study, the influenza A season did not appear to affect the IPI season (p = 0.49). Specifically, the influenza peak never preceded the IPI peak.
Conclusion: On a population level there was no indication that the annual influenza epidemic triggered the winter increase in the IPI rate or the peak of the IPI distribution in children.
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Competing interests: Rüdiger von Kries is conducting a surveillance study on invasive pneumococcal infections in children in Germany funded by the manufacturer of a 7-valent pneumococcal vaccine, Prevenar (Wyeth) and – on a few occasions – has accepted honoraria for lectures given at meetings sponsored by Wyeth. Ulrich Heininger is a member of the Prevenar Advisory Board of Wyeth/Switzerland.
Funding: The surveillance of invasive pneumococcal infections in children in Germany was supported by Wyeth Pharma Germany, Münster and by a grant (FKZ 01KI0213) for PID-ARI.net (Pediatric Infectious Diseases Network on Acute Respiratory Tract Infections) awarded by the Bundesministerium für Forschung (BMBF).