Which individuals are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease and why? Impact of COPD, asthma, smoking, diabetes, and/or chronic heart disease on community-acquired pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease

Thorax. 2015 Oct;70(10):984-9. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2015-206780. Epub 2015 Jul 28.


Pneumococcal disease (including community-acquired pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease) poses a burden to the community all year round, especially in those with chronic underlying conditions. Individuals with COPD, asthma or who smoke, and those with chronic heart disease or diabetes mellitus have been shown to be at increased risk of pneumococcal disease compared with those without these risk factors. These conditions, and smoking, can also adversely affect patient outcomes, including short-term and long-term mortality rates, following pneumonia. Community-acquired pneumonia, and in particular pneumococcal pneumonia, is associated with a significant economic burden, especially in those who are hospitalised, and also has an impact on a patient's quality of life. Therefore, physicians should target individuals with COPD, asthma, heart disease or diabetes mellitus, and those who smoke, for pneumococcal vaccination at the earliest opportunity at any time of the year.

Keywords: Asthma; Bacterial Infection; COPD Exacerbations; Pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / complications*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Community-Acquired Infections
  • Diabetes Complications / complications*
  • Heart Diseases / complications*
  • Humans
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / etiology*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / prevention & control
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae


  • Pneumococcal Vaccines