Although most pneumococcal infection responds well to antibiotic therapy, there are conditions which place patients at a higher risk of more serious infection. Pneumococcal bacteraemia is rare, but kills about 25% of cases.1 Strains of pneumococci resistant to most antibiotics have recently appeared in Africa but are very rare in Europe. Antibody to the polysaccharide capsule of the organism is protective. A polyvalent vaccine of polysaccharides is now available for prophylactic active immunisation (Pneumovax - Thomas Morson).
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