post-title PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASES AND VACCINES 2015-03-24 07:03:00 yes no Posted by

PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASES AND VACCINES

By: Dr. Michael Franz PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the Streptococcus Pneumoniae bacteria (germ) sometimes referred to as pneumococcus. The pneumococcal bacteria can cause many types of illnesses including pneumonia,meningitis,ear infections,sinus infection,and bacteremia (blood stream infection) Pneumonia,meningitis,and bacteremia are considered invasive disease meaning that the pneumococcal bacteria invade parts of the […]

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By: Dr. Michael FranzMichaelFranz-300x260

PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the Streptococcus Pneumoniae bacteria (germ) sometimes referred to as pneumococcus. The pneumococcal bacteria can cause many types of illnesses including pneumonia,meningitis,ear infections,sinus infection,and bacteremia (blood stream infection) Pneumonia,meningitis,and bacteremia are considered invasive disease meaning that the pneumococcal bacteria invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs.These infections can be life threatening!

We normally have a small amount of pneumococcal bacteria in our nose and mouth without it causing problems.It will cause infection only if it gets where it shouldn’t belong,like our lungs,ears or sinus cavities.

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease,but some people are at higher risk for disease than others.Children at higher risk are:

-children under two years of age

-children in group child care

-children who have certain illnesses (sickle cell anemia,HIV infection,immune.

deficiency,and chronic lung or heart conditions)

Adults at higher risk are:

-any adult 65 years or older

-some adults 19 through 64 years of age with chronic illnesses
(Heart,lung,liver,kidney,asthma,diabetes and alcoholism)

-with conditions that weaken the immune system (HIV/AIDS,

cancer,or damaged/absent spleen)

-living in a nursing home

-who smoke cigarettes

Transmission of pneumococcal bacteria is from person to person by direct contact with respiratory secretions like saliva or mucus.

Pneumococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics,however,many types of pneumococcal bacteria have become resistant to some of the antibiotics used to treat these infections.15 percent of pneumococcal bacteria are now resistant to penicillin!

PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINES

There are two vaccines for pneumococcal disease.Pneumovax was the first vaccine and was approved in 1983.It is recommended for all adults 65 years and older.It is also recommend for children and adults age 2 through 64 with an underlying chronic illness,and for people with asthma and smokers 19 years and older.

In September 2014 PREVNAR 13 ,another pneumococcal vaccine ( which is being heavily marketed by its manufacturer) was approved for use in all adults 65 years and older.It has been available to children since 2010 and is included with the recommended childhood immunizations.Studies showed this vaccine could reduce the incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia in adults 65 and older by almost 50 percent and the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease by 70 percent !

Current recommendations are for adults 65 years and older to get both vaccines but not at the same time.If you are 65 years or older and you had the first vaccine (Pneumovax) five or more years ago or if you are not sure if you ever had the Pneumovax vaccine you should be vaccinated with PREVNAR 13 first and then after 6-12 months be vaccinated with the Pneumovax vaccine.

If you do not have a chronic illness you do not need a booster for Pneumovax.If you have a chronic illness you should have a Pneumovax booster every 5 years.

We will not know if booster vaccine for PREVNAR 13 is necessary until after studies are completed in 2018.

You can’t get both pneumococcal vaccines at the same time but you can get either one at the same time you get your flu shot or your allergy shot.

Comments (1)

  1. Pat Kreinbrink

    Congratulations on your up coming retirement. Truly enjoyed having you as my Doctor. Best of luck with your future, I’m sure you’ll be busier than ever

    Pat

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