Pneumococcal infections can cause various types of disease, such as:

  • Sinus infections
  • Ear infections
  • Pneumonia

In young children, this usually leads to ear infections, sinus infections and/or bronchitis. Adults over 60 years old generally develop an infection of the lungs (pneumonia). Pneumococcal pneumonia often starts very suddenly.

If the bacteria get into the bloodstream or nervous system, it is known as invasive pneumococcal disease. If that happens, the person will become severely ill. Children under five years old who have invasive pneumococcal disease will generally develop a bloodstream infection (bacteremia) or meningitis. Adults over 60 years old generally develop severe pneumonia (an infection of the lungs that includes bacteria in the bloodstream).

Facts and figures in the Netherlands

Each year, about 10,000 people of all ages are admitted to hospital in the Netherlands with a pneumococcal disease. About 6,000 people aged 60 years and older are admitted to hospital with a pneumococcal disease on a yearly basis. 900 of these people die.