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Pneumococcal disease is a very serious infection caused by bacteria which attack different parts of the body.

Rates of pneumococcal disease in children under 5 have dropped by more than 70% since the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines.

Information for Health Professionals

Pneumococcal infection is caused by a germ (or bacteria). It can cause ear and sinus infections, and pneumonia ( an infection of the lungs). It can also cause serious and life-threatening infections including meningitis (an infection of the lining that covers the brain) and septicemia (an infection of the blood).  

Symptoms of pneumonia include:  
  • Cough - Mucus (sputum) from your lungs may be coughed up. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood

  • Fever
  • Fast breathing and fast heart rate
  • Chest pain that often feels worse when you cough or breathe in
  • Feeling very tired or very weak

Symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis include:

  • Severe headache
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Neck stiffness

Pneumococcal infection is spread from one person to another by coughing, sneezing or close face-to-face contact.

Pneumonia is an important cause of death in the elderly. For every 20 cases of pneumococcal meningitis, up to 5 people will die. Permanent complications of pneumococcal meningitis infection include brain damage and deafness.


Infection is diagnosed by a blood test or chest x-ray (to diagnose pneumonia).


Antibiotics and rest.


Some types of pneumococcal infections are prevented with vaccination. Infants in BC receive pneumococcal vaccine at 2, 4, and 12 months of age. People age 2 and older who have medical conditions that increase their risk of complications from pneumococcal infection get an additional pneumococcal vaccine. This vaccine is also given to all people at age 65.

SOURCE: Pneumococcal ( )
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