Children aren’t the only ones at risk of pneumococcal disease. Adults and the elderly—especially those with certain pre-existing medical conditions—are also be affected by the illness. Yet, vaccine strategies in developing countries typically focus on infant immunization only.

In this study, AMP collected available population-based data on pneumococcal meningitis in the African meningitis belt. The goal was two-fold: to better understand disease risk and to inform vaccine policy.

A review of data published between 1970 and 2005 revealed high levels of pneumococcal meningitis in all age groups. Based on these findings, we estimated the lifetime risk of pneumococcal disease outcomes in a hypothetical group of 100,000 people (from birth until their 100th birthday).

We found that in the African meningitis belt, pneumococcus and Nesseria meningitides are important causes of meningitis, particularly among older children and working-age adults. We also determined that serotype 1, a particular type of bacterium, is responsible for a large number of cases (59-79%) among persons aged 5 to 59.

Since the conclusion of the study, AMP has been working with local governments and partner institutions to further analyze the risks of pneumococcal disease and to discuss policy implications.