Pneumococcal disease and its prevention with polyvalent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines--a review

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine
R Douglas, I D Riley

Abstract

Polyvalent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines have been shown to be safe, immunogenic and efficacious and are becoming available for use in patients at high risk of developing pneumococcal infections. Precise estimates of the role of the pneumococcus in human respiratory disease are difficult to obtain, as this organism is also a frequent commensal of the upper respiratory tract; and as the optimal techniques for the identification and proof of its role are not widely used. Nevertheless, the pneumococcus remains the principal cause of adult pneumonia and paediatric otitis media, and is also an important cause of death from bacteremia and meningitis. At present it seems likely that in Australia these vaccines will be most useful amongst people over the age of 50 years, those with chronic systemic disease, alcoholics, splenectomized individuals and disadvantaged groups such as Australian aborigines, all of whom are particularly susceptible to pneumo-coccal bacteremia which has a considerable mortality rate. The possibility of preventing pneumococcal otitis media in childhood is still being evaluated. Studies of the role played by the various pneumococcal serotypes in Australian populations are urgently needed.

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Related Concepts

Respiratory Tract Diseases
Entire Upper Respiratory Tract (Body Structure)
Vaccines
Systemic Disease
Pediatric Discipline
Upper Respiratory Tract
Polysaccharides, Bacterial
Vaccination
Bacterial Vaccines
Respiratory Tract Infections

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