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Pneumococcal Invasive Disease

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a bacterium known as Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Pneumococcus is a common bacterial cause of ear and sinus infections. It can also invade normally sterile parts of the body and cause severe illness, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and meningitis. Children younger than 2 years, adults 65 years or older, persons with certain medical conditions, and Alaska Native adults 50 years or older are among those most at risk for invasive pneumococcal disease.

There are vaccines available to prevent pneumococcal disease in children and adults.

Alaska Surveillance Data

In the past five years, Alaska has received an average of just over 115 reports of invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae disease per year. During 2018, 141 cases were reported to SOE, yielding an incidence rate of 19.1 cases per 100,000 persons. Most of the cases occurred in persons greater than 5 years of age.

Bar graph showing reports of invasive pneumococcal disease by year - Alaska, 2014-2018 

Isolate serotype surveillance data shows that there has been a decline in the proportion of invasive pneumococcal disease among children less than 5 years of age due to serotypes found in the PCV-13 vaccine following its introduction into the childhood immunization schedule in 2010.

Laboratories should submit all S. pneumoniae isolates associated with invasive disease to the Arctic Investigations Program for serotyping. For information on shipping isolates call 907-729-3400.

Resources for the General Public

Resources for Healthcare Providers

Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus invasive disease is a public health reportable condition in Alaska. Reports must be made within 2 working days after being suspected or diagnosed. Please call the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at 907-269-8000.

Infectious Disease Program Resources