Pneumococcal Disease

    

Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of serious illness throughout the world. It is caused by a common type of bacteria, the pneumococcus, which can attack different parts of the body. Illnesses caused by pneumococcus include pneumonia, meningitis, middle ear and sinus infections, and a condition called sepsis, which is an infection of the bloodstream.

It is estimated that about one million US adults get pneumococcal pneumonia each year, as many as 400,000 hospitalizations from pneumococcal pneumonia occur annually in the US, and about 5-7% of those who are hospitalized from it will die. The death rate is even higher in those age 65 years and older. Fewer people will get pneumococcal meningitis or bloodstream infection, but the mortality rate for these infections is even higher.