, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 317-323

Prevention of pneumococcal meningitis

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Abstract

With the success of the conjugated Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines, Streptococcus pneumoniae has become one of the most important causes of bacterial meningitis worldwide, causing significant morbidity and mortality. Additionally, the increasing amount of resistance that this organism is developing to multiple classes of antimicrobial agents has made the treatment of pneumococcal infections, especially meningitis, much more difficult. Immunization has been shown to be one of most effective methods for preventing pneumococcal meningitis, resulting not only in a decrease in disease burden, but also a decrease in antimicrobial resistance. Currently, a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and a heptavalent protein conjugate vaccine are licensed for use. However, the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine is poorly immunogenic in infants and young children. The continued development, licensing, and use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have the best potential to both prevent disease and decrease the prevalence of pneumococcal meningitis.