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Do I need Pneumococcal vaccine?

Q: Recently I had an attack of pneumococcal pneumonia; after taking antibiotics, I am better. I am 38 years old, working in a steel plant. Should I take vaccination for pneumococcal infection?

A:Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. There are more than 90 different types of pneumococcal bacteria; however, only a few types account for most of the serious diseases. Many people carry S. pneumoniae in their throat or nose without getting sick. If the bacteria overcome your body's natural defences, they can cause various diseases. The most serious of these is meningitis, an inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Other diseases caused by S. pneumoniae include bacteraemia (blood infection), pneumonia (lung infection), and otitis media (middle ear infection). The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is a very safe vaccine and protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Most healthy adults who get the vaccine develop protection to most or all of these types within 2 to 3 weeks of getting the injection. Usually one dose of PPV is all that is needed. However, under some circumstances a second dose may be given. The vaccine is indicated for people who are at a greater risk from the disease, and include people 65 and older, the very young, and people with special health problems such as alcoholism, heart or lung disease, kidney failure, diabetes, HIV infection, or certain types of cancer. An isolated case of pneumococcal pneumonia in an adult does not require vaccination. However, in your case consultation with your doctor is recommended to find an indication since you have not mentioned relevant details.

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