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Monday, December 23, 2013 - 12:16pm
Las Cruces, NM (KDBC) — Pneumococcal disease, caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, is one of the most common causes of pneumonia among New Mexicans.
So far this year, approximately 300 people in New Mexico have been diagnosed with severe pneumococcal disease; 47 (16%) of these people have died from their infection, which is an average of about one death per week.
Pneumococcal pneumonia can follow an influenza infection making influenza season a more common time for both diseases.
It is estimated that pneumococcal pneumonia among adults accounts for $3 billion of direct health care costs each year in the U.S.
“Approximately 1 out of 3 adults who are recommended to receive the vaccine have never been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH.
The New Mexico Department of Health offers pneumonia vaccinations for people without insurance or who are otherwise not able to get immunized.
Those with Medicaid or other health insurance should bring their insurance cards with them to the clinic.
For more information on pneumonia and pneumococcal disease in New Mexico visit the New Mexico Department of Health Active Bacterial Disease Surveillance webpage at: http://nmeip.org/abc-streptococcus-pneumoniae.php.