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Is pneumococcal disease the same as meningococcal disease?

Page last updated 10 July 2018

Pneumococcal disease is not the same as meningococcal disease. While the sites of infection can be the same (such as infection of the lining of the brain – or meningitis), the terms ‘pneumococcal’ and ‘meningococcal’ describe different types of bacteria that infect the body. 

Pneumococcal disease is caused by the bacteria known as pneumococcus, while meningococcal disease is caused by a bacteria called meningococcus. Both of these bacteria may be found living naturally in the nose and throat of some people without causing symptoms, while in others, the bacteria can become invasive and cause disease.

The vaccines for pneumococcal disease and meningococcal disease are different, and being vaccinated against one of these diseases does not provide protection against the other. For more information about meningococcal disease, visit our meningococcal disease page.

Sources & Citations

  1. Australian Government. Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. 4.13 Pneumococcal disease. Available at: (accessed 25 March 2018).
  2. Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Meningococcal disease. Available at: (accessed 25 March 2018).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0149a - Date of preparation May 2018