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Vaccine thwarts ear aches, pneumonia

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NASHVILLE, Sep 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Children vaccinated with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine are less likely to get middle ear infections and pneumonia, scientists in Nashville found.

The vaccine controls bacterial meningitis and bacteremia, a bacterial infection in the blood system, but it was not clear if it helped control other illnesses.

The Vanderbilt University researchers, studying records from Tennessee's Medicaid program and three commercial insurance firms in upstate New York, found vaccination resulted in 17 percent fewer cases of pneumonia in Tennessee and 30 percent fewer cases in New York. There also were markedly fewer ear aches in each state.

These translated to about 10 fewer doctor visits per 100 children in Tennessee for ear infections and 40 fewer in New York. There were two fewer visits per 100 for pneumonia in Tennessee and four fewer in New York.

Each year there are more than 7 million cases of ear infection and more than 500,000 cases of pneumonia. The study appears in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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