Mayo Clinic research shows adults with asthma are at increased risk of serious pneumococcal disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common bacteria causing middle ear infections and community acquired pneumonia. It also causes blood stream infections and brain infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control, pneumococcal infection is one of the leading causes of death from a vaccine-preventable disease. The researchers recommend including asthma as an indication for pneumococcal vaccination in adults. The results of the study were recently published in the October edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
“We found that adults with invasive pneumococcal disease, a serious, potentially fatal disease, are seven times more likely to be asthmatics. Our study also showed that 17 percent of the burden of invasive pneumococcal disease can be attributable to asthma at a population level. This is quite a significant impact on the burden of invasive pneumococcal disease,” says Young Juhn, M.D., a pediatric and adolescent medicine physician-scientist at Mayo Clinic and lead author of the study. “Invasive pneumococcal disease is a vaccine-preventable disease. The implication is that we have the ability to significantly reduce instances of this potentially fatal disease by expanding the indication for the pneumococcal vaccine to include adults with asthma.”