Skip to site content

Part 1, Chapter 12: Manual Appendix V

Pneumococcal Disease and Pneumococcal Vaccine


Pneumococcal infection is a leading cause of death worldwide and a major cause of pneumonia, meningitis and other Invasive (blood borne) diseases.  Strains of the pneumococcal bacteria (germs) are beginning to show increasing resistance to antibiotics emphasizing the importance of vaccine protection against pneumococcal disease.  It is estimated that 400,000 to 5000,000 cases of pneumonia due to pneumococcal bacteria occur yearly in the USA with about a 5 percent to 10 percent fatality rate.  Persons 65 years of age and older who have bacteremia (bacteria in the blood) with a pneumococcal infection have a much higher risk of death.  Populations at high risk are the elderly, alcoholics, and individuals with immune disorders, certain blood diseases, and certain kidney disorders.

At the present time there are 83 known pneumococcal bacteria strains.  Most pneumococcal disease is due to a portion of these strains.