What is pneumococcal disease?
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria which causes pneumococcal disease. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young, the very old and those who have no spleen or weakened immunity.
How do I get pneumococcal disease?
Bacteria are spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing or close contact. The bacteria can be carried in the nose and throat without doing any harm but sometimes they can invade the lungs and bloodstream causing pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.
How serious is pneumococcal disease?
Pneumococcal disease is a very serious disease. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young, the very old and those with no spleen or impaired immunity. It is a major cause of pneumonia in the community.
Meningitis (inflammation of the lining around the brain),
Osteomyelitis (inflammation of a bone)
Blood stream infection (Bacteraemia)
Over the years Streptococcus pneumoniae has become resistant to many medications making the treatment of pneumococcal infections much more difficult. Prevention of disease through vaccination is now more important than ever.
Who is at risk of pneumococcal disease?
Everybody is at risk of getting pneumococcal disease but older people and very young children are most at risk from infection. Particularly at risk are people who are have long term medical conditions have no spleen or have a weakened immune system;