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 bacteremia, which is an infection of the blood.
There are an estimated 400,000 hospitalizations from pneumococcal pneumonia, 12,000 cases of bacteremia, and 3,000 cases of meningitis each year in the United States. It is estimated that 900,000 Americans get pneumococcal pneumonia each year and 5-7% will die from it.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90% of invasive pneumococcal disease cases are in adults and there were an estimated 3,300 deaths from pneumococcal bacteremia in 2012. More than 12,000 cases of pneumococcal bacteremia occur each year and of those cases about 15% will die from the infection.
Pneumococcal disease can also cause very serious illness in children. In fact, pneumococcal disease is the most common cause of invasive bacterial infection in children in the US. Children under 2 years of age fall into the highest general risk group for invasive pneumococcal infections.
Vaccines are available and are recommended for routine use in children, adults 65 years of age and older, and others with certain risk conditions. Still, many of those indicated have never received a pneumococcal vaccine.
NFID is committed to providing education about pneumococcal disease. Talk to your healthcare provider about pneumococcal disease and vaccination.
Learn more about pneumococcal disease in adults and the vaccines to prevent it.