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What is pneumococcal disease, and how can it be prevented?

Pneumococcoal disease is a bacterial infection, caused by members of the streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria family. It can range from mild, in the form of ear infections or sinus infections, to severe or even life threatening diseases like pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.

The bacteria is present in most people’s mouths, throats and noses, and it’s spread by sneezing or coughing. In most people the bacteria will have no effect, but in those with weakened immune system, a serious infection can take hold within about one to three days of infection.

Antibiotics are usually used to treat pneumococcal disease, since it is bacterial, however, like many bacterial infections, the disease has become increasingly drug resistant over the years. That means that treatment can be difficult if your child is infected.

Since there is a vaccination against pneumoccocal disease, known as PCV, and since it can protect your child against up to 70% of pneumoccocal infections, it’s worth having your child vaccinated against this disease. As they say, prevention is the best form of a cure!

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