State health officials, local organizations, and statewide professional groups are urging all Michigan residents to get vaccinated against the flu and pneumococcal disease best known for causing pneumonia, both of which can be life-threatening diseases.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria that can cause many types of illnesses, some of which can be life-threatening, and is one of the most common causes of severe pneumonia.
Michigan Department of Community Health Chief Medical Executive Dr. Matthew Davis says anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but children less than two years of age and adults 65 years of age and older.
Other medical conditions, such as chronic illnesses, weakened immune systems, and cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid leaks contribute to increased risk for pneumococcal disease. Adults who smoke or have asthma are also at greater risk.
Influenza is also a life-threatening disease, especially for infants and the elderly.
In 2012, there were 691 confirmed flu cases in Michigan including seven pediatric deaths. About half of the pediatric deaths were previously healthy children who had no risk factors for severe disease. Health officials have not confirmed any cases yet this season.
In 2012, 66.8 percent of Michigan adults had a pneumonia vaccine which was slightly lower than the U.S. median of 68.8 percent.