Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pneumococcal disease: more cases but fewer deaths

07.05.2012
The vaccine given to children to immunise against serious pneumococcal disease does not offer full protection, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, finding that the number of cases diagnosed has tripled over the past 50 years.

Each year an estimated 1 million children worldwide die as a result of pneumococcal disease. Worst affected are those in poor countries, but pneumococcal bacteria cause disease and suffering in all age groups and in all countries, including Sweden.

There are currently two types of active vaccine: polysaccharide vaccines, which protect against more types of pneumococcal bacteria but cannot be given to children under the age of two, and conjugated vaccines, which can be given to infants but protect against fewer types.

In his thesis, Erik Backhaus, infection specialist at Skövde Hospital and doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, looks at all cases of serious pneumococcal disease in children and adults in the Västra Götaland region of Sweden between 1998 and 2001. His studies show that the latest conjugated vaccines theoretically offer protection against around 70% of infections. “But around 95% of infections are caused by serotypes covered by the polysaccharide vaccine,” says Backhaus. “This vaccine cannot be administered to children under two years of age, which means that it cannot be used in those who need it most.”

Risk of death is age-related
In the worst case, the bacteria cause serious disease from which around 10% of patients die within a month of diagnosis. Erik Backhaus shows in his thesis that the risk of dying depends partly on age and partly on underlying medical conditions, but also that the risk is higher for men than women. Interestingly there are also geographical variations: fewer serious pneumococcal infections are diagnosed in the over-80s in the Gothenburg area than in other parts of the Västra Götaland region.

“This may be due to different routines for admitting patients from nursing homes to hospital and how often blood cultures are performed,” he explains.

More cases, fewer deaths
Over the past 45 years the number of cases of severe pneumococcal disease diagnosed in the Gothenburg area has tripled from 5 to 15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year. This is probably because many more blood cultures are performed these days, meaning that more cases are detected. Erik Backhaus’ thesis shows that the risk of dying as a result of serious pneumococcal disease has fallen sharply since the 1960s, especially among children and young adults.

It is hoped that the recently introduced pneumococcal vaccination as part of the standard child immunisation programme will reduce the number of infections among both children and adults.

The thesis “Invasive Pneumococcal Infections” was successfully defended at the Sahlgrenska Academy’s Institute of Biomedicine on 13 January.

PNEUMOCOCCAL BACTERIA
Pneumococcal bacteria belong to the Streptococcus genus and are the most common cause of bacterial respiratory infections. There are 90 different types of pneumococcal bacteria, of which ten are dominant in small children. The diseases caused range from uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infections through pneumonia of varying severity to serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions such as meningitis and septicaemia. The risk of disease is highest among the very young, the very old and those suffering from various chronic diseases.

For more information, please contact:
Erik Backhaus, doctoral student, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
E-mail: erik.backhaus@vgregion.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://bit.ly/yQRIhi
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

nachricht Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another
12.12.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>