Childhood Pneumococcal Disease


In this episode of Do You Know show, Kum Gheng speak to Dr. Yong Junina Fadzil, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Cardiologist at Klinik Pakar Kanak-Kanak Junina on Childhood Pneumococcal Disease.

Pneumococcal disease (PD) is complex and describes a group of illnesses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae). There are more than 90 known serotypes (or strains) of S. pneumoniae, but only a small subset of those cause the majority of PD worldwide. The bacteria causes invasive infections which include bacteremia/sepsis (bacterial infections of the blood), and meningitis.

According to a WHO 2002 estimate, PD is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death worldwide in children younger than 5 years and the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and is responsible for 1.6 million deaths each year throughout the world.

Invasive pneumococcal disease can be a very serious illness in young children with meningitis being the most severe type of pneumococcal disease. About 5% of children younger than 5 years of age with pneumococcal meningitis will die from the infection or they may have long-term problems such as blindness or hearing loss. Non-invasive PDs such as a sinus infections and otitis media (middle ear infection) are usually mild and are much more common than serious forms of pneumococcal disease.