Understanding pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is commonly found in the airways of young children and is spread through coughing, sneezing and close contact with an infected person.

It is estimated that in 2000, about 14.5 million episodes of serious pneumococcal disease occurred, resulting in about 826 000 deaths in children aged 1-59 months. In the developed world, serious disease occurs mainly in children under two years of age and in the elderly. In developing countries, the disease is common in children under two years, including newborn infants; rates of the disease in the elderly population are largely unknown.

What does Pneumococcal bacteria cause?

These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including: pneumonia (infection of the lungs), ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (blood stream infection).

How serious is Pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is very serious and it can lead to:

Who should be protected against Pneumococcal disease?

How do we prevent against Pneumococcal disease?

1) Pneumococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics. However, in recent years, Pneumococcal bacteria have been found to be resistant to many antibiotics. This makes treatment difficult and leads to prolonged hospital stay and increased medical costs.

2) The BEST way to prevent Pneumococcal disease is to VACCINATE.

The World Health Organization ranks Pneumococcal disease as the number ONE vaccine preventable cause of death worldwide, amongst children younger than 5 years old.