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Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD)

The pneumococcus bacterium (bug) can cause pneumonia and meningitis. However, like some other bugs, it can also live harmlessly in the noses of many children. Though the bug is a common cause of ear infections in children, the purpose of the vaccine is to prevent the more serious, or invasive, form of the disease, which causes meningitis, blood poisoning and pneumonia in roughly equal proportions. These are serious illnesses, killing up to 1 in 10 children who contract the disease. Before immunisation, the risk of a child getting IPD at any time before the age of five was 1 in 850. 20 children under 5 died from IPD every year in England & Wales. IPD is rarely a problem in children over 5 years of age.