REVIEW – August 2013

Prevention of pneumococcal disease: update on recommendations for adult immunization

Authors: Kadri Kõivumägi, Eda Tamm, Matti Maimets

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Streptococcus pneumoniae is a gram positive bacterium that is a leading cause of illness in children and adults. Pneumococcal infection manifests as otitis media, sinuitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, or as invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPD) like sepsis, meningitis and bacteremic pneumonia. Children less than two years old, elderly people older than 65 years and adults with particular underlying medical conditions are most likely to suff er from invasive pneumococcal infections.
In recent years changes have been made in recommendations concerning prevention of pneumococcal disease among high risk adults. In 2011, the European Agency for Medicines approved the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) for prevention of the invasive disease caused by PCV13 serotypes among adults aged 50 years and older (4). In July 2012 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (CDC, ACIP) recommended using a combination scheme with pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and PCV13 among all high risk adults to achieve broader stereotype protection (5).
The purpose of this article was to discuss the latest changes in immunization recommendations and to give an overview of available pneumococcal vaccines for the elderly and for high risk adults.