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Empyema cases show dramatic increase

Cases of a strain of bacteria not covered by the pneumococcal vaccine is on the rise, researchers are warning.

The number of infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae seroptype 1 have risen dramatically, according to research presented this week at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health annual scientific conference.

Dr David Spencer, a consultant respiratory paediatrician at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle, told delegates that the number of cases of empyema, a complication of pneumonia, have surged to nearly 1,000 a year from a handful in the early 1990s. In most of these cases, the disease was caused by serotype 1.

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