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Pneumococcal Disease

How do people catch pneumococcal disease? Are there places or people to avoid?

Pneumococcal disease is caused by the “pneumococcus,” a germ that is present in the airways of many people. It is spread by coughs, sneezes and other respiratory secretions. Pneumococcal bacteria may also live for a short time on surfaces. These bacteria, along with many others, are particularly common in areas where people — particularly small children — are in close quarters with one another. Daycare centers, schools and long-term care facilities are places where there would be a higher risk of getting pneumococcal disease.