Since the approval of a vaccine against pneumococcal bacteria for young children in 2000, there has not only been a drop in the incidence of severe disease caused these bacteria in children but also a significant decline in the disease in adults. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report their results today in two studies at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"We were pretty confident when we recommended this vaccine for children it would help them," says Cynthia Whitney, a researcher on both studies. "What was a pretty pleasant surprise was the amount of benefit weve seen in unvaccinated populations."
Steptococcus pneumoniae, also called pneumococcus, is one of the most common causes of bacterial meningitis in children in the United States. It can also cause bacterial pneumonia and deadly bloodstream infections. In its less severe forms it can also cause ear and throat infections. Pneumococcus bacteria can be found colonizing many peoples noses and throats without causing infection. Why it suddenly invades the body and causes disease is unknown.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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