Pneumococci are bacteria. There are more than 90 different types of pneumococci. Anyone can carry these bacteria without becoming ill. When that happens, the bacteria are present inside the nose. When people sneeze and cough, bacteria are pushed out into the air in small droplets. If other people inhale the small droplets, they could become infected.

Young children, people over 60 and people whose immune system is compromised have a higher risk of becoming ill from a pneumococcal infection. If someone is infected and does become ill, they will usually show symptoms within 1 to 3 days.

What is pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease can be caused by many different types of pneumococcal bacteria.
Many people carry these bacteria in their nose or throat, but do not become ill.
But if an infected person coughs or sneezes... the bacteria can spread.
Pneumococcal bacteria can cause pneumonia, ear infections or sinus infections.
If the bacteria gets deeper inside your body, you could develop severe pneumonia, meningitis or blood poisoning (septicaemia).
These are serious illnesses that require hospitalisation.
In addition, you could develop permanent health problems, become disabled, or even die.
Infants and the elderly have the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.
Pneumococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Babies receive vaccinations at the ages of three, five and eleven months old.
Starting in 2020, the elderly will also be vaccinated.
See for a list of who will be invited for the vaccination this year.
The vaccinations protect them against the most dangerous types of pneumococcal bacteria.
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