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PCTs may miss incentives

Asthma is an independent risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease, researchers conclude.

Their study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, found patients with asthma were at more than twice the risk of the disease as controls.

US researchers found the annual incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease was 4.2 episodes per 10,000 in people with high-risk asthma, 2.3 episodes per 10,000 in low-risk asthma and 1.2 per 10,000 in those without asthma.

Dr Tony Crockett, a GP in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, and hospital practitioner in asthma and COPD, said national recommendations might be needed on vaccination. He said: 'The Health Protection Agency should consider roll-ing out the pneumococcal vaccine campaign to include all asthmatics in the at-risk groups. For now we should certainly consider it for all patients with severe asthma.'

The study analysed data on 635 patients with asthma and 6,350 controls in Tennessee.

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