Pneumococcal disease

Streptococcus pneumoniae infections in people with diabetes are associated with increased mortality and morbidity.

For people with diabetes, vaccination against pneumococcal disease is recommended by:

  • The Australian Immunisation Handbook 9th Edition 2008 (National Health and Research Council), and
  • The Diabetes Management in General Practice 2010/11 Guidelines for Type 2 Diabetes (Diabetes Australia in conjunction with the RACGP).

Currently, it is estimated that fewer than 10% of patients aged 10 to 64 years at increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (including people with diabetes) have been vaccinated with pneumococcal vaccine. As a result CSL has been working with the Australian Diabetes Educators Association to help people with diabetes reduce their risk of pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal pneumonia

Pneumonia, due to pneumococcal infection, can be a serious disease, especially for people with diabetes.

Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can be found in the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat and windpipe) of healthy people, and can be spread between people through infected droplets in the air and by touching an infected person. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a lung infection and symptoms can include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

In addition to pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can cause a range of diseases including meningitis (infection of the membranes that enclose the brain and spinal cord), septicaemia/bacteraemia (blood system infection) and middle ear and sinus infections. There are ways to help reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, including healthy lifestyle measures:

  • Stop smoking. If you currently smoke, stopping smoking will help reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia infection.
  • Reduce alcohol intake. If you consume a lot of alcohol on a regular basis, reducing your alcohol intake may help reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia infection. A healthy diet and exercise.
  • Eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of exercise may help you fight off infection, including from pneumococcal bacteria.
  • Vaccination. Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination is recommended by both Diabetes Australia and the Australian Immunisation Guidelines for those at high risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, this includes people with diabetes. Vaccination is available from your doctor.

Visit for more information. Speak to your GP today about ways to reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, including vaccination.

Information provided by: CSL Biotherapies Pty Ltd ABN 66 120 398 067 45 Poplar Rd PARKVILLE VIC 3052


The Australian Immunisation Handbook, NHMRC. 9th Edition, 2008, Chapter 3.15. 3. Diabetes Management in General Practice, 2010/11 16th Edition Guidelines for Type 2 Diabetes.