This site requires JavaScript to be enabled to work properly. Please modify your settings or use a different browser to continue


You are now leaving GSK’s website

By clicking this link, you will be taken to a website that is not owned or controlled by GSK, and GSK is not responsible for the content provided on that site


Go back

Mother and Baby

What is pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. 12 These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, ranging from serious diseases such as: pneumonia (infection of the lungs), meningitis (infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia/septicemia (infection of the blood stream) to milder but commoner infections such as otitis media (infection of the middle ear) and sinusitis (infection of the sinuses). 12


How is it spread?

Pneumococcal bacteria can be spread through close contact with an infected person such as through droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. 34 The bacteria can be carried in the nose and throat of an infected person who shows no symptoms but can spread the disease to others. 35


Who is at risk?

Pneumococcal disease occurs around the world. 1 Certain people are more likely to become ill with pneumococcal disease. 12 This high-risk group includes children younger than 2 years of age and adults 65 years of age or older. 12 The bacteria is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children younger than 5 years of age. 4 
People who have conditions that weaken the immune system, like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and HIV/AIDS, or people who smoke cigarettes or have asthma are also at increased risk for getting pneumococcal disease. 


What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of pneumococcal disease depend on the part of the body that is infected. 1 Symptoms may include:

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia (infection of the lungs): fever and chills, cough, rapid breathing, or difficulty breathing, chest pain. 6
  • Pneumococcal meningitis (infection of the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord): stiff neck, fever, headache, sensitivity to light, confusion. In babies, meningitis may cause poor eating and drinking, low alertness, and vomiting. 6
  • Pneumococcal bacteremia/septicemia (infection of the blood stream): confusion/disorientation/low alertness, shortness of breath, high heart rate, fever/shivering/feeling very cold, extreme pain or discomfort, clammy or sweaty skin. 6 Septicemia is a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. 6
  • Otitis media (infection of the middle ear): ear pain, red and swollen ear drum, fever, and sleepiness. 6

How can you help protect your child?

  • Practicing good hygiene and cleanliness by;
    • Washing hands often with soap
    • Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
    • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing
    • Avoiding close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick can also help prevent pneumococcal disease. 1
  • Vaccination can help protect against infectious disease

When should your child receive Vaccination for Pneumococcal disease?

  • For details about the vaccination please talk to your Doctor


Talk to your Doctor for more details 



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2014. Traveler's Health - Pneumococcal Disease. [last accessed April 2019].
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). Wkly Epidemiol Rec 2019; 94(8): 85–104.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017. Pneumococcal Disease - Risk Factors and Transmission. [last accessed April 2019].
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2015. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. The Pink Book: 13th Edition - Chapter 17: Pneumococcal disease. Washington D.C. Public Health Foundation. [last accessed April 2019].
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2018. Pneumococcal Disease in Adults and the Vaccines to Prevent It Factsheet. [last accessed April 2019]. 
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017. Pneumococcal Disease - Symptoms and Complications. [last accessed April 2019].


HCP with a Baby

Vaccination Schedule


Learn more about the approved Vaccination schedule in Sri Lanka

More details

Vaccine Guideline by Sri Lanka Medical Association 

Learn more information about vaccine guideline published by the Sri Lanka Medical association

More details