Question about pneumococcal antibodies

Mark Lishman mark at LISHMAN.DEMON.CO.UK
Wed Sep 30 14:49:09 EST 1998


Thank you very much for your response to my questions regarding my son's
antibody levels. It was much appreciated. However, I wonder if I could
trouble you for some further information.

In Matthew's medical records the following ranges are provided alongside
his antibody counts:

IgG1    160 Titer units Range 640-10240
IgG2    10 Titer units  Range 10-320
IgG3    20 Titer units  Range 40-1280

Despite being on the low side, can these levels 'safe' for a three-year-
old child?

The consultant immunologist states that; 'Despite this infection
[pneumococcal meningitis], he has suboptimal pneumococcal antibody
levels.  However, this is quite typical for children of this age who
have a physiological defect in manufacturing antibodies against
carbohydrate antigens such as pneumococcal polysaccharide'. 
Do you agree with this statement?

With regards to Matthews' general immunity the following measurements
were taken after his illness and then after re-vaccination (1 dose).

After illness:
Haemophilus b Antibody                  0.14 micro g/mL
Corynebacterium diphtheriae Antibody    0.81 iu/mL
Clostridium tetani antitoxin (IgG) ab.  0.05 iu/mL

After re-vaccination (1 dose):
Haemophilus b Antibody                  10 micro g/mL
Corynebacterium diphtheriae Antibody    Already immune.
Clostridium tetani antitoxin (IgG) ab.  1.0 iu/mL

Is it possible that his immune system is only partially functioning and
that he has a problem only with pneumococcal antibody production?

If it is not obvious, my main objective is to get Matthew off the
Penicillin V antibiotics which he has taken twice daily for over two
years now. I am extremely fearful of the side-effects that the long term
use of this medicine can cause but also do not want to jeopardize his
health by making any rash decisions (no meningitis pun intended!). This
is why any advice or information on relevant books or web sites would be
gratefully received.

Mark Lishman

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