30 January 2007

Pneumococcal disease vaccine launched

The first and only conjugate vaccine to help protect infants and toddlers against invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) was launched recently.


Wyeth South Africa (Pty) Limited is pleased to announce the launch of the first and only conjugate vaccine to help protect infants and toddlers against invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD).

The new vaccine may be used in infants as young as six weeks of age to immunize against serious pneumococcal diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and otitis media (middle ear infections).

Pneumococcal disease describes a group of illnesses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus. One type of disease is IPD, in which S. pneumoniae is isolated from the blood or another normally sterile site. IPD includes bacteraemia (bacterial infection of the blood), meningitis (infection of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord), and bacteraemic pneumonia (infection of the lung associated with pneumococcal bacteraemia).

The spread of pneumococcus from the nasopharynx to the upper and lower respiratory tract can result in non-invasive pneumococcal diseases, including bacterial pneumonia, acute otitis media (AOM [inflammation of the middle ear]), and sinusitis (infection of the sinuses).

While pneumococcal vaccines have been available for some time for adults and older children, this is the first such vaccine for infants.

In South Africa, an estimated 13 385 cases of IPD were reported over a period of five years by approximately 120 laboratories voluntarily participating in a national laboratory-based surveillance programme. Patients should consult their healthcare professional for advice.

This conjugate vaccine for IPD is brought to you by Wyeth South Africa (Pty) Ltd, an affiliate of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth (NYSE:WYE), one of the world’s largest research-driven pharmaceutical and healthcare products companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing, and marketing of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products and nonprescription medicines that improve the quality of life for people worldwide. The company’s major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Fort Dodge Animal Health.


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