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Asthma may double risk of invasive pneumococcal disease


Asthma is an independent risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease. The risk among persons with asthma is at least double that among controls.

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a common bacterium, the Pneumococcus, which can attack different parts of the body.
When bacteria invade the lungs, they cause the most common form of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia; when bacteria invade the bloodstream, they cause bacteremia; and when they invade the covering of the brain, they cause meningitis.
Pneumococci may also cause otitis media and sinusitis.
Currently there are more than 90 known pneumococcal types; the ten most common types account for approximately 62 percent of invasive disease worldwide.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University – School of Medicine in Nashville, examined 635 people, aged 2-49, with invasive pneumococcal disease, 114 ( 18 percent ) of whom had asthma. They compared them to 6,350 subjects without invasive pneumococcal disease, 516 ( 8.1 percent ) of whom had asthma.

Persons with asthma had an increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease ( adjusted odds ratio, 2.4 ) as compared with controls.
Among those without coexisting conditions, the annual incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease was 4.2 episodes per 10,000 persons with high-risk asthma and 2.3 episodes per 10,000 persons with low-risk asthma, as compared with 1.2 episodes per 10,000 persons without asthma.

Source : The New England Journal of Medicine, 2005

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