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Healthcare Experts Across India Come Together to Fight Pneumonia Amongst the Older Population of the Country

November 14, 2014 - Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

To commemorate World Pneumonia Day 2014, experts across renowned national institutes have initiated a campaign to spread maximum awareness about the symptoms and causes of Pneumonia among the elderly population in India. This campaign is an effort to protect adults aged 50 years and above from the deadly pneumococcal disease and thereby reduce the rate of death caused due to pneumonia.
Older adults are more prone to Pneumonia due to the declining immune system functioning in the elderly. This natural process is called immunosenescence, and renders every individual above the age of 50 years, vulnerable to disease. Some of the commonest infections that affect ageing adults are Pneumococcal Diseases, which are caused by the bacterium, Streptococcus pneumonia (commonly known as Pneumococcus). Common pneumococcal diseases include Pneumonia, Meningitis, Bacteremia and Sepsis.   
WHO estimates Pneumococcal Diseases to be the largest cause of vaccine preventable death across the world. According to the Invasive Bacterial Infectious Surveillance (IBIS) study, the death rate in pneumococcal disease has been found to be highest in adults above 50 years of age (28%) in India.
Highlighting the need to create this awareness, Dr. O.P. Sharma, General Secretary of Geriatric Society of India said, “To get a solution for the eradication of pneumonia can be a boon to mankind. Considering that pneumonia infects the respiratory systems and is associated with worsened outcomes in the older population, preventive measures should be applied and maximum awareness needs to be generated to curb and get rid of this disease in the elderly”
The relative risk of pneumococcal disease infecting other body organs in addition to the respiratory systems is 2.9 fold higher in adults of 50 years of age and above. In those with associated risk factors for invasive pneumococcal disease, the risk is 3-6 fold higher in patients with chronic medical conditions, 11 fold higher in alcohol abuse and 23-48 fold higher in immunocompromised conditions like cancers, HIV/AIDS, etc. Patients with chronic lung disease (e.g. Asthma, COPD, etc.) are at 5.6 times higher risk for the same.
Infographic on factors contributing to increased risk of Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases 
Factors contributing to increased risk of Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases:
According to a recent study by Rodriguez et al, among the immune-competent adults admitted with community acquired Pneumonia in the ICU, 22.1% had a fatal episode, despite >95% of the cases receiving adequate antibiotic therapy. It has been noted that irrespective of region of the world, pneumococci have been showing increasing resistance to one or more of the commonly used antibiotics.
Emphasizing on the need for adult immunization, Padmashri Dr. V. S. Natarajan, Senior Geriatric Consultant, said, “Despite appropriate antibiotic therapy and intensive care treatment, there is a considerable case-fatality rate in pneumococcal pneumonia, with the highest rates among the elderly. Thus, prevention through vaccination is an obvious approach”.

The main goal in a healthy aging strategy is to slow the rate of functional decline so as to enable older persons to maintain their lifestyle as effectively as possible.
About Wyeth Ltd.

Wyeth Ltd. is a market leader in vaccines and women’s health. Wyeth has pioneered the introduction of several new therapies in India and was the first to launch hormone replacement therapy and conjugated pneumococcal vaccines for infants and adults. The company has an award winning manufacturing facility in Goa. In October 2009 Wyeth USA merged with Wagner Acquisition Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer Inc and consequent to this merger Wyeth Ltd. became a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc. in India. To learn more about us, please visit us at 


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  1. WHO 2004 Global Immunization Data. Available from: Accessed June 7, 2009.
  2. Kyaw MH, Rose CE Jr, Fry AM et al. The influence of chronic illnesses on the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in adults. J Infect Dis. 2005 Aug 1;192(3):377-86.

Image Caption: Infographic on factors contributing to increased risk of Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases

Source: Business Wire India


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