Racial differences have been well described for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), but little information exists on how race interacts with community socioeconomic factors.
The Active Bacterial Core surveillance/Emerging Infections Program performed active surveillance for IPD in the 20-county Metropolitan Atlanta area. All IPD cases among children younger than 5 years from 2001 to 2009 were geocoded and linked to census tract-level socioeconomic measures from the 2000 US Census. Race- and socioeconomic-specific average annual incidence rates per 100,000 population were calculated. Trends in IPD incidence were determined by χ2 tests for trend. Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Poisson regression.
IPD incidence among the total population of children increased as percentage of household poverty increased (P = 0.002), as median household income decreased (P < 0.001), as wealth decreased (P = 0.018) and as percentage of individuals with less than a high school education increased (P = 0.023). After stratifying by race, there was no significant linear trend between socioeconomic characteristics and IPD incidence among white children; among black children, however, IPD incidence decreased as socioeconomic conditions worsened. Despite adjusting for sex and socioeconomic factors, the IPD rate remained higher among black children compared with white children (RR = 1.60; 95% CI: 1.39–1.84). Differences in RR of IPD associated with highest poverty and lowest wealth noted in 2001 [RR = 2.71 (95% CI: 2.17–3.39) and 1.80 (95% CI: 1.09–2.96), respectively] declined in 2009 [RR = 1.33 (95% CI: 0.90–1.96) and 0.76 (95% CI: 0.48–1.19), respectively].
Although socioeconomic disparities in IPD incidence exist among children, the association between socioeconomic characteristics and IPD rates may differ by race and may change over time. Community-level socioeconomic factors did not account for racial differences in IPD incidence.