Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD) presents a significant public health concern globally. India leads the way with the highest number of diagnosed incident cases of IPD in the five major Asia-Pacific growth markets (5GM: Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, and Urban China).
Figure 1 presents the number of diagnosed incident cases of IPD in the 5GM in 2018.
IPD comprises a variety of severe diseases caused by infection from the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Depending on the infected body part, IPD can include meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia. Incidence of IPD varies widely around the world, but the existence of an effective vaccine and the adoption of vaccination programs has largely kept IPD rates low worldwide. However, in India, where vaccine adoption has been very low, the number of cases of IPD remains staggeringly high.
In 2018, there were more than two million diagnosed incident cases of IPD in the 5GM, and India accounted for more than 98% of these cases. The high number of cases in India is a direct result of the lack of country-wide vaccination for pneumococcal disease. Vaccination for pneumococcal disease was only recently introduced in children in late 2017 across three Indian states, and vaccination in the elderly is not a part of the national immunization program. These two high-risk groups for IPD have been left mostly unprotected, which has contributed to the high number of cases in India.
With the introduction of childhood immunization for pneumococcal disease in 2017 for certain regions of India, the trend is shifting and cases are expected to start declining. If India continues to offer the pneumococcal vaccine throughout the country and more people accept the vaccine, the number of IPD cases will continue to decrease and the most severe complications of IPD infection can be avoided.