By Dr. Dagna Constenla

Pneumococcal diseases are common and severe among older children and those over 65 years of age in the Americas, and are leading causes of morbidity and death in this population. Despite this fact, and evidence suggesting individuals who experience pneumococcal disease enjoy poorer health overall, surprisingly little information exists regarding the economic impact of these diseases.Pneumo Symp logo

This week, the Fifth Regional Pneumococcal Symposium will take place in São Paulo, Brazil, with a focus on pneumococcal disease prevention in older children and the elderly in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region.  New data on the disease and economic burden of pneumococcal disease in this age group will be presented throughout the next two days. IVAC is pleased to be a co-convener for the event, along with the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).  The Symposium is expected to bring more than 175 experts in the fields of epidemiology and economics from around the world to discuss the latest data in pneumococcal disease burden and economic burden, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) rollout, and important challenges and opportunities related to vaccine introduction in the LAC region. 

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to speak at the Symposium during a session on the economics of pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal vaccines to share IVAC’s recent work on this topic. During the session, I will highlight the findings from a recent literature review we conducted, which brings to light the lack of existing data on the economic burden of pneumococcal disease among older children and adults in the LAC region.

I will also present the findings of a recent cost of illness (COI) study, which supports the conclusion that pneumococcal disease poses a sizable economic burden in older children and the elderly. Specifically, I will present the healthcare costs at country and regional levels, and the impact that pneumococcal disease has on the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the region.

In a similar vein, epidemiological data about the incidence of pneumococcal disease in the LAC is limited in many countries. My colleague, Dr. Maria Knoll, IVAC’s Associate Director for Science, will present on the results of the Adult Global Estimation of Disease Burden and Distribution of Serotypes of Serious Pneumococcal and Meningococcal Disease (AGEDD) project. Specifically, she will present relevant findings from LAC and discuss the patterns of pneumococcal disease revealed in the incidence studies that have been conducted. She will highlight the importance of additional research into disease burden and serotypes to determine the best methods to protect all individuals.

The Symposium will provide an opportunity for all those working in this field to come together and share ideas on overcoming the barriers related pneumococcal disease prevention. We will provide an update reflecting on the outcomes of the various sessions following the Symposium.

Will you be there? If so, please share your thoughts about the conference in our comment field below.  More to come from São Paulo! 


Dagna Constenla, PhD, is the Director of Economics & Finance at IVAC.