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Lung Infection Up in Wake of Kids' Pneumonia Vaccine

Since the PCV7 early childhood vaccine for bacterial pneumonia was introduced in the United States in 2000, the number of children hospitalized for pneumonia because of pneumococcus has decreased by 50 percent and bacterial pneumonias have decreased overall, new research shows.

But the scientists also found a 70 percent increase in the rate of a pneumonia complication called empyema, a serious and sometimes life-threatening infection in a cavity between the lung and chest wall.

This dramatic rise in the incidence of empyema may partly be because the PCV7 eliminates certain types of pneumococcus, which provides an opportunity for more virulent and antibiotic-resistant types of bacteria to take its place, said the researchers at the University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital.

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