What is pneumococcal disease?
Infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can make children very sick. It causes blood infections, pneumonia and meningitis, mostly in young children.
Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain. Although pneumococcal meningitis is relatively rare (less than one case per 100,000 people each year), it is fatal in about one of 10 cases in children. Pneumococcal meningitis can also lead to other health problems, including deafness and brain damage.
Children younger than 2 years of age are at higher risk for serious disease than older children.
Pneumococcal bacteria are spread from person to person through close contact. Pneumococcal infections may be hard to treat because some strains of the bacteria have become resistant to the drugs that are used to treat them. This makes prevention of pneumococcal infections through vaccination even more important.
What is the new PCV13 vaccine?
There are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
The new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) protects against 13 of them.
These bacteria types are responsible for most severe pneumococcal infections among children.
PCV13 replaces a previous conjugate vaccine (PCV7), which protected against seven pneumococcal types and has been in use since 2000.
Who should get PCV13, and when?
PCV13 is given to infants and toddlers, to protect them when they are at greatest risk for serious diseases caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
Your child may be eligible to complete their immunization series with PCV13
or may be eligible for a booster shot with PCV13.
The PCV13 vaccine is now available at the Ramstein Clinic.
For more information, call the Ramstein pediatric clinic at 479-2273 or visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/vac-PCV13-hcp-faqs.htm.
(Courtesy of 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron)