Why are people with asthma susceptible to pneumonia? A review of factors related to upper airway bacteria

Seher R. Zaidi, John D. Blakey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Asthma and pneumonia are common respiratory conditions globally, affecting individuals of all ages. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the predominant bacterial cause of pneumonia, with nasopharyngeal carriage an important step towards invasive and pulmonary disease. Vaccines provide individual protection, and also prevent nasopharyngeal carriage, providing herd immunity. Asthma is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, but there is limited information on the underlying mechanism of this predisposition. Both asthma and its treatment may conceivably alter propensity to, and density of, carriage through an altered epithelial microenvironment driven by disease-related inflammation or treatment-related immunomodulation, for example with inhaled corticosteroids. The relative importance of these factors could impact the efficacy of vaccines in this vulnerable patient population. In this review, we summarize the evidence for an increased risk of pneumonia in asthma, and discuss factors affecting nasopharyngeal carriage in the context of current guidelines for pneumococcal vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-430
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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