Pneumococcal disease; why this needs to be addressed

Article written by :dr-sanjoy-gupta
Dr Sanjoy Gupta
Consultant Respiratory Medicine

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection (caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae). At times it can lead to severe illnesses like-

  • Lung Infection (specially pneumonia)
  • Bloodstream infections (sepsis)

It has been seen that during COVID or Post COVID most of the pneumonia (secondary infection) is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria which is responsible for pneumococcal diseases. Please note that Pneumococcal Vaccines would shield for protection from only Streptococcus pneumonia, only one kind of bacteria responsible for pneumococcal diseases. However, precautions and doctors advice are the best way to protect oneself from pneumonia.

These infections can lead to hospitalization, long recovery time and other complication.

Spread: Pneumococcal bacteria spread through coughing or sneezing or through direct contact. Not everyone who carries the bacteria becomes ill, so it is possible to catch pneumococcal disease from someone who appears healthy.

Anyone can get pneumococcal diseases, but some people are in greater risk for the disease than others. Being in a certain age or having some medical conditions can put you at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

Individuals with:

  • COPD
  • Asthma or who smoke
  • Chronic heart disease or diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Immuno-compromised condition

Having these types of conditions, has been shown to be at increased risk of Pneumococcal disease compared with those without these risk factors.

Getting vaccinated will help you stay healthy, so you will miss less work and also have more time for your family and friends.

Talk to your doctor about risk for pneumococcal disease and assess risk about available vaccinations that may help protect you.

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