Know Pneumo, Know The Facts

What is Pneumo?
Pneumo, or Pneumococcal disease, is a cause of serious illness. It is caused by a common bacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can attack different parts of the body. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly among the elderly and those with a weakened immune system. 1

For further information about Pneumococcal Disease speak to your GP, Practice Nurse or other Healthcare Professional.

Watch our video series and learn more about Pneumo.

More than 500,000 people aged 65 and older may be at-risk of getting pneumo in Ireland.2, 3

Just 16% of people in Ireland aged 65 and over have been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease in Ireland, according to research2

That means that more than 500,000 people could be at risk of contracting pneumonia, meningitis or septicaemia – all caused by pneumococcal infection3

Of those who contract pneumococcal infection, also known as the pneumo bug, and who develop invasive disease 1 in 4 will develop pneumonia, 1 in 4 will develop meningitis, and 1 in 10 will die4

How do you get Pneumo?

Like the common cold, pneumococcal disease is spread by close contact, coughing and sneezing. The bacteria can be carried in the nose and throat without doing any harm but sometimes they can invade the lungs and bloodstream causing pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis1

What happens when you have a Pneumo infection?

If the pneumococcal bacteria infect the lungs, they can cause pneumonia. When they invade the blood stream, they cause septicaemia and when they invade the brain, they cause meningitis. Pneumococcal disease is a very serious disease. It is a major cause of pneumonia in communities throughout Ireland and also causes:

  • Sinusitis
  • Osteomyelitis (inflammation of a bone)
  • Bronchitis
  • Ear infection
  • Blood stream infection (Bacteraemia)

Over the years, Streptococcus pneumoniae has become resistant to many medications and this has made the treatment of pneumococcal infections much more difficult. Prevention of disease through vaccination is now more important than ever.1

Do You Know If You’re At-Risk of Pneumo?

Everybody is at risk of getting pneumococcal disease but older adults and very young children are most at risk from infection. Particularly at risk are people who have long term medical conditions, have no spleen or have a weakened immune system.1

Pneumococcal disease can be prevented by vaccination.
Over the years, Streptococcus pneumoniae has become resistant to many medications making the treatment of pneumococcal infections much more difficult. Prevention of disease through vaccination is now more important than ever.1

Vaccination is recommended for those at risk of the disease.

Pneumococcal disease is a very serious disease. Those in the following at-risk groups should be vaccinated with PPV23.1

Everybody aged 65 years and over

Also those aged over 2 years with;

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic heart, respiratory or liver disease
  • Chronic renal disease, nephrotic syndrome, renal transplant
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Those with missing or non-functioning spleens
  • Disorders of the immune system including cancer
  • People receiving chemotherapy or other treatments that suppress the immune system
  • Persons with HIV infection or AIDS

Know How To Protect Yourself Against Pneumo

How do I protect myself against Pneumo?

Pneumococcal vaccines which can help protect against pneumococcal disease are available free of charge from your GP.

The vaccine is free of charge for those for whom it is officially recommended such as people over the age of 65 and in identified at-risk groups, such as those with diabetes, heart disease or respiratory conditions.

To find out more about pneumococcal disease and vaccination, speak to your GP or pharmacist today about how you can protect yourself.

Outside the childhood immunisation programme, pneumococcal vaccination is usually a single vaccination for those at-risk, but re-vaccination may be required for some people in certain at-risk groups.

The vaccination can be received when getting your annual flu vaccination or any other time that you visit your GP surgery.

Seven Reasons You Should Know Pneumo

Watch and Know Pneumo

To make sure you Know Pneumo, we have teamed up with Marty Whelan and patient organisation representatives, including Averil Power, Asthma Society of Ireland, and Justin Moran, Age Action Ireland. Watch our video series and learn more about Pneumo.

 

 

References

1 http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/pubinfo/adult/pneumo
2 MSD data on file – Millward Browne Market Research 2013
3 http://www.cso.ie/en/csolatestnews/presspages/2017/census2016profile3-anageprofileofireland
4 http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/pubinfo/babychildimm/vaccprevdisease
5 http://hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/hcpinfo/guidelines/chapter16.pdf