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Prevention of Pneumococcal Infections
Secondary To Seasonal and Swine Flu

What is Pneumococcal Disease?

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). When these bacteria invade the lungs, they can cause pneumonia. They can also invade the bloodstream (bacteremia) and/or the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Pneumococcal infection kills thousands of people in the United States each year, most of them 65 years of age or older.

What are the Symptoms of Pneumococcal Disease?

The symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. The symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis include stiff neck, fever, mental confusion and disorientation, and visual sensitivity to light (photophobia). The symptoms of pneumococcal bacteremia may be similar to some of the symptoms of pneumonia and meningitis, along with joint pain and chills.

Why is Prevention of Pneumococcal Disease Important during Influenza Season?

Influenza infections can make people more likely to develop bacterial pneumonia.  Pneumococcus is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Pneumococcal infections are a serious complication of seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 influenza infections and can cause death.

How can High-Risk Individuals Protect Themselves from Pneumococcal Disease?

There is a vaccine to protect high-risk individuals 2 through 64 years of age against serious pneumococcal disease. The vaccine, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV), is safe and effective. Most people need a single dose of the pneumococcal vaccine in a lifetime. All children less than 5 years of age should receive a different vaccine called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7); high risk children 2 to 4 years of age need both pneumococcal vaccines. 

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