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Fast Facts

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  • The major types of pneumococcal disease are pneumonia (lung infection), bacteremia (bloodstream infection), and meningitis (infection of the tissue covering of the brain and spinal cord). Less severe illnesses include ear and sinus infections.
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia
    • Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common form of pneumococcal disease in adults.[1]
    • It is estimated that about 900,000 Americans get pneumococcal pneumonia each year. About 5-7% of people who need care in a hospital due to pneumococcal pneumonia die from it.[1, 2]
    • As many as 400,000 hospitalizations from pneumococcal pneumonia are estimated to occur annually in the United States.[2]
  • Invasive pneumococcal disease (bacteremia and meningitis)
    • In the United States, about 90% of invasive pneumococcal disease cases are in adults.[3]
    • There were an estimated 3,700 deaths in the United States from pneumococcal meningitis and bacteremia in 2013.[3]
  • Pneumococcal vaccines
    • Healthcare professionals use two different vaccines to prevent pneumococcal disease. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is given to children in the first two years of life, to all adults 65 years or older, and to older children and younger adults with certain conditions that weaken their immune system. Healthcare professionals give the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) to adults 65 years or older, as well as children 2 years or older and younger adults with certain conditions that put them at increased risk.
    • Most (>95%) pneumococcal deaths in the United States are in adults.[3] Yet about 80% of adults with conditions that put them at increased risk and 40% of adult 65 years or older remain unvaccinated, leaving them vulnerable.[4] Vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect yourself.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe S, eds. 13th ed., Washington DC: Public Health Foundation, 2015.
  2. Huang SS, Johnson KM, Ray GT, et al.  Healthcare utilization and cost of pneumococcal disease in the United States.  Vaccine. 2011;29(18):3398-412.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Report, Emerging Infections Program Network, Streptococcus pneumoniae, 2015.
  4. National Health Interview Survey, 2014.