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Background: The risk of invasive pneumococcal disease is higher in people with diabetes mellitus than those without. People with diabetes should be considered for routine pneumococcal immunization. This policy has been in place in England for more than a decade. We aimed to estimate, at the population level, the current scale of excess risk of pneumococcal disease in patients with diabetes, and whether the risks have decreased in recent years with the introduction of a pneumococcal vaccine. Methods: We used two data sets of linked hospital admission and death records-the Oxford Record Linkage Study (1963-1998) and all-England linked hospital episode statistics (1999-2011). As a measure of relative risk, we calculated the rate ratio of pneumococcal disease in cohorts of people hospitalized with diabetes compared with cohorts without a record of diabetes. Results: The risk of pneumococcal disease in patients hospitalized with diabetes mellitus has declined a little, but it is still high. The all-ages rate ratio in England declined from 1.92 (95% CI 1.89-1.94) in 1999-2002 to 1.68 (95% CI 1.65-1.71) in 2007-2011. In people aged under 60 years, rate ratios were higher and their decline was more substantial: rate ratios declined from 3.37 (95% CI 3.28-3.46) in 1999-2002 to 2.33 (95% CI 2.21-2.45) in 2007-2011. Conclusions: Patients admitted to hospital with diabetes mellitus remain at increased risk of pneumococcal infection despite a national immunization policy. Possible explanations for the elevated risk include low vaccine uptake or low effectiveness of available vaccine. Clinicians should be aware of the risk of pneumococcal infection in people with diabetes. © 2013 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine © 2013 Diabetes UK.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetic Medicine

Publication Date





1412 - 1419