Pneumococcal Disease


There are two vaccines used to prevent pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcal vaccine for children is called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and protects against the 13 most dangerous types of pneumococcal bacteria in children under 2 years old. Adults may receive either the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23), which protects against 23 types of bacteria, or the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. PPSV23 is typically recommended for people over 65 and children over 2 who are at high risk of getting pneumococcal disease, as well as people who smoke or have asthma. PCV13 may be recommended for some adults with certain medical conditions. Children and adults should also receive yearly flu vaccines to reduce their chances of getting pneumococcal disease.


Pneumococcal infections can be treated with antibiotics, although the bacteria have become increasingly resistant to some antibiotics, such as penicillin. Doctors typically begin treatment with a broad-spectrum antibiotic until testing shows what more targeted antibiotics may work against the infection.

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