Vaccination 'key to prevent pneumococcal diseases'
Riyadh, October 10, 2012
Experts have emphasised the role of vaccination in preventing the risk of contracting pneumococcal diseases by adults over the age of 50.
World class experts from the fields of research, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of pneumococcal disease from across Africa and the Middle East discussed the unmet need for pneumococcal disease prevention at the Africa & Middle East Adult Pneumococcal Summit, held in Abu Dhabi recently.
Pneumococcal disease describes a group of illnesses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae). It remains a serious condition associated with high morbidity and mortality causing approximately 1.6 million deaths a year globally and is a leading cause of meningitis and blood infection, two types of invasive pneumococcal disease.
According to recent data, people with chronic heart disease are six times more likely to develop invasive pneumococcal disease than healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes are four times more likely to develop pneumococcal disease than people without it, a statement said.
This news is especially relevant in Saudi Arabia, where cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus rates are a major public health problem, it said.
Age is an important risk factor for pneumococcal disease, placing millions of adults at risk worldwide.
The summit felt vaccination is an important component in advancing pneumococcal disease prevention in the adult population, the statement said.
“As healthcare professionals, we have a pivotal role to play in preventing pneumococcal disease mortalities and morbidity, extending protection to as much of the population as possible, especially those above 50 years of age. As people age, their ability to fight infection declines, increasing the risk of contracting serious disease, such as pneumococcal disease. The role of pneumococcal disease prevention is essential in a population with a high prevalence of risk factors, which is what we face in KSA,” said Dr Adel Fahad Alothman, assistant professor, College of Medicine, KSAU-HS, head of infectious diseases division KAMC Riyadh.
“In addressing the burden of pneumococcal disease, epidemiology and the impact of disease in adults have been examined extensively. Vaccination is recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the most cost-effective health interventions, as it is with invasive pneumococcal disease. People suffering with diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung diseases and the over 50s population are encouraged to protect their health against invasive pneumococcal disease and prevention is the most effective protection ,” added Dr Alothman.
By leveraging vaccination, we can fight the burden of disease and help provide adults over 50 with a new preventive health option at a crucial stage of their lives, said Dr Alothman.
In Saudi Arabia, following the approval of the Ministry of Health, Pfizer has now launched the adult indication of its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), against invasive pneumococcal disease for adults age 50 years and older. To support optimal outcomes for patients and reduce the burden of disease, regional experts at the summit examined the potential impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs). – TradeArabia News Service