Pneumococcal disease refers to a wide range of infections that is caused by some bacteria. The most severe infections are a leading cause of life-threatening illnesses in Australia – particularly among children under two years of age and elderly people.

What causes the Pneumococcal disease?

The pneumococcus bacteria can spread between people through infected droplets in the air and by touching an infected person. It most commonly spreads when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pneumococcal meningitis symptoms may include high fever and headache, which may develop over a few hours or one to two days.
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia symptoms may be vague and include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
  • Both require you to seek advice from your GP or your medical provider.
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How can I prevent it?

You can substantially reduce the risk of infection with pneumococcal disease through immunisation, particularly in young children. Pneumococcal vaccination is recommended as part of routine immunisation for people who face a high risk from pneumococcal and its complications.

The pneumococcal vaccine is available free under the National Immunisation Program for

  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children
  • Children