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