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Pneumococcal Vaccine: The Evidence Mounts

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University of Colorado School of Medicine; and the Veterans Administration Medical Center and Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center; Denver, Colorado

Ann Intern Med. 1986;104(1):110-112. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-104-1-110
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Pneumococcal infections have been considered as important diseases of earlier generations. Given the ease with which penicillin fights such infections, the Oslerian concept of the pneumococcus as "the captain of the men of death" (1) seems somewhat foreign and dated today. Nonetheless, infections due to Streptococcus pneumoniae remain relatively common and have become more important in recent years because of the emergence of penicillin-resistant pneumococci in clinical isolates and the introduction of a polyvalent pneumococcal vaccine.

Pneumococci contain polysaccharide capsules that are antiphagocytic; antibodies to the capsule greatly enhance phagocytosis. Thus, it seems biologically appropriate to expect that a polyvalent


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