Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a common bacteria, called streptococcus pneumoniae

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Pneumococcal disease is caused by a common bacteria, called streptococcus pneumoniae.1,2 The major clinical syndromes of pneumococcal disease are pneumonia, bacteraemia, and meningitis.1

The most common clinical presentation of pneumococcal disease among adults is pneumococcal pneumonia.1

The incubation period of pneumococcal pneumonia is 1 to 3 days.1

The Case-fatality rate of Pneumococcal Bacteraemia, is ~12 % 1

Conditions that Increase the risk for Pneumococcal disease

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  • Asplenia. (functional or anatomic)
  • Chronic heart and/or pulmonary disease. (including asthma in adults)
  • Liver or renal disease.
  • Cigarette smoking. (in adults)
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak.
  • Cochlear implants.1


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Transmission occurs by means of:

  • Direct person-to-person contact via respiratory droplets.1
  • Autoinoculation in persons carrying the bacteria in their upper respiratory tract.1

The spread of the organism is influenced by factors such as household crowding and viral respiratory infections.1


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Purified pneumococcal polysaccharide (23 types):

  • Not effective in children younger than 2 years.1,3
  • 60 %–70 % effective against invasive disease.
  • Less effective in preventing pneumococcal pneumonia.1

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (13 types):

  • > 45 % effective against vaccine-type nonbacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia in adults
  • > 65 years.
  • > 75 % effective against vaccine-type invasive disease in adults > 65 years.1

Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations:

  • PCV13 – all children aged 2- 59 months
  • PPSV23- all adults aged 65 years or older
  • High risk children and adults older than 2 years :
  • PCV13 administered followed by a dose of PPSV23 after 8 weeks, or PPSV23 alone

Please note: This is an education information brochure only and should not be used for diagnosis. For more information on Pneumococcal disease, consult your healthcare professional.

  1. Gierke R, Wodi P, et al. Centers for disease control and prevention. Feb 2021; 279-296. Pinkbook: Pneumococcal Disease. Accessed : 13 July 2021.
  2. National foundation of infection diseases. Pneumococcal Disease factsheet for the media. September 2020 Available at Accessed 6 Aug 2021.
  3. Pneumovax PI.

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