The pneumococcus bacterium (Streptococcus pneumoniae) kills approximately 500,000 children less than five years of age each year, mainly in the developing world. It is the leading cause of childhood pneumonia, the number one killer of children under five in the developing world, and a cause of meningitis (inflammation of the covering of the brain), ear infections, and bacteremia (blood stream infection). Pneumococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics; however, antibiotic-resistant strains are becoming more common worldwide. Current pneumococcal vaccines approved for use in children are effective against strains common in the industrialized world and some developing countries, but do not cover all 90+ pneumococcal serotypes and they are complex and expensive to manufacture. There are several additional vaccines in development.

More about pneumococcus | View resources on pneumococcus

Key resources

Pneumococcal Disease
A web page that provides an overview of pneumococcal disease and vaccines against it.

Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (2012)
A collection of papers that aim to address the rationale behind the epidemiologic, clinical, laboratory, and statistical design components of the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health project.

Featured PATH resources

Accelerating New Vaccine Development Against Pneumonia and Other Pneumococcal Diseases (2013)
A fact sheet that highlights PATH's work to develop new vaccines against pneumococcal disease.

Developing New Vaccines Against Pneumonia and Other Pneumococcal Diseases (2013)
A technical fact sheet that outlines PATH's pneumococcal vaccine project including an overview of its portfolio, research activities, and partners.

Page last updated: October 2013.