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Diseases > Pneumococcal
Pneumococcal - In short

Topics on this page:


A type of bacteria


Pneumococcal pneumonia (begins with high fever, cough, and stabbing chest pains), bacteremia, and meningitis


Death (one of the most common causes of death in America from a vaccine-preventable disease)


Pneumococcus is in many people's noses and throats. Why it suddenly invades the body and causes disease is unknown.


Pneumococcal vaccine is very good at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death. However it is not guaranteed to prevent all symptoms in all people.

As an adult, do I need it?

You should get the pneumococcal vaccine if:

  • You are 65 years old or older.
  • You have a serious long-term health problem such as heart disease, sickle cell disease, alcoholism, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid, lung disease (not including asthma), diabetes, or liver cirrhosis.
  • Your resistance to infection is lowered due to Hodgkin's disease; multiple myeloma; cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs; treatment with long-term steroids; bone marrow or organ transplant; kidney failure; HIV/AIDS; lymphoma, leukemia, or other cancers; nephrotic syndrome; damaged spleen or no spleen.
  • You are an Alaskan Native or from certain Native American populations.

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This page last modified on June 27, 2001


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