Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). There are different types of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis, and otitis media.
Symptoms Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. The symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis include stiff neck, fever, mental confusion and disorientation, and visual sensitivity to light (photophobia). The symptoms of pneumococcal bacteremia (a bloodstream infection) may be similar to some of the symptoms of pneumonia and meningitis, along with joint pain and chills. The symptoms of otitis media (middle ear infection) typically include a painful ear, a red or swollen eardrum, and sometimes sleeplessness, fever and irritability.
How do I protect myself? Pneumococcal vaccine is very good at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death; however, it is not guaranteed to prevent infection and symptoms in all people.
Which adults should get the PPSV (pneumococcal) vaccine?
Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma.
All adults 65 years of age and older.
Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who has a long-term health problem such as: heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid or cochlear implant.
Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who has a disease or condition that lowers the body's resistance to infection, such as: Hodgkin's disease; lymphoma or leukemia; kidney failure; multiple myeloma; nephrotic syndrome; HIV infection or AIDS; damaged spleen, or no spleen; organ transplant.
Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who is taking a drug or treatment that lowers the body's resistance to infection, such as: long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs, radiation therapy.
Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
PPSV may be less effective for some people, especially those with lower resistance to infection.
But these people should still be vaccinated, because they are more likely to have serious complications if they get pneumococcal disease.