CDC: Worrisome Spike Seen in Pneumococcal Disease

CDC also relays that H1N1 vaccine supply continues to increase
By Cynthia Haines, MD
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- H1N1 vaccine supply continues to increase, but serious pneumococcal infections are on the rise around the country, according to a Nov. 25 press briefing held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in Atlanta, reported that, in the 2009 pandemic, the CDC is seeing an increase in pneumococcal infections. In Denver, one of the 10 sites where collaborative investigation is ongoing, October 2009 saw almost three times the number of pneumococcal cases typically seen, with most cases in adults under 60 years of age. These findings likely reflect what is happening around the country, Schuchat added.

Meanwhile, H1N1 vaccine supply continues to increase, with 21.2 million doses available for states to order. Nearly a quarter of these doses are in nasal spray format. Schuchat said that the CDC expects greater numbers of doctors' offices and clinics will soon be able to offer the H1N1 vaccine, and also emphasized the role of the 23-valent vaccine for pneumococcal disease prevention.

"Pandemics put us at risk for not just flu problems, but also bacterial pneumonia problems," said Schuchat. "Vaccination is the best way to protect against serious pneumococcal infections, and we strongly recommend that adults with chronic conditions like diabetes, emphysema, chronic heart, lung, [and] liver disease take advantage of the pneumococcal vaccine."

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