Enhanced surveillance of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in adults was conducted during April 2013–March 2018 in 10 of 47 prefectures in Japan, and a total of 1277 IPD patients were enrolled. An emergence of IPD caused by serotype 12F was identified during May 2015–March 2018 through this surveillance. 12F isolates were composed of four related sequence types. In total, 120 patients with 12F IPD were reported during this period. To characterize the clinical features of 12F IPD, the disease characteristics of these patients were compared with those of 1157 patients with non-12F IPD. Compared with the non-12F IPD patients, a significantly lower proportion of 12F IPD patients was aged 65 years or older (55% vs. 70%), vaccinated with 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide (4% vs. 14%), had comorbid illness (65% vs. 77%), or were immunocompromised (19% vs. 30%; all P < 0.05). No significant difference in the proportion of case fatalities was found between the two groups. The proportions of those aged 65 years or older (53% vs. 69%) and with bacteremic pneumonia (35% vs. 69%) were significantly lower in 17 patients who died from 12F IPD than in 205 patients who died from non-12F IPD (all P < 0.05). Differences in clinical features were similarly found between 12F IPD patients and patients in low- or intermediate-level invasive potential serogroups. Our data demonstrated that serotype 12F was associated with IPD in younger adults and a lower proportion of comorbid illness, including immunocompromised conditions, in adult IPD, suggesting the high invasive potential of the serotype 12F. In addition, patients who died from 12F IPD were younger and had proportionately more bacteremia without focus. These findings may provide new insight into the pathogenesis of IPD in adults caused by 12F serotype with a high invasive potential.
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