Vaccination warning for parents---pneumococcal pneumonia

I posted this to a mailing list for foreigners living at Lotus Hill, and someone suggested I post it here too. So, here is my sad tale/warning with minor edits…

Hey all,

We’ve been going through a pretty rough few weeks, ever since our four-year old was admitted to the ICU and had emergency surgery for pneumococcal pneumonia.

She had been immunized against this with the Prevnar vaccine in the US. However, the strain (capsular serotype) that she came down with was not covered by Prevnar. It turns out that the strains here are different, 75% antibiotic resistant, and more prone to causing necrotizing pneumonia (where the lung tissue starts to die) than what’s around in the US.

So parents, make sure your kids get additional vaccinations here. Pneumococcal pneumonia can lead to meningitis, otitis, sepsis, and also death.

BTW, we saw numerous doctors (private practitioners in their own clinics) prior to admission, all of whom completely misdiagnosed the condition. This includes many of the doctors recommended on this (Lotus Hill) list. The problem is that the practice here of maximizing income by seeing as many patients as possible in a day means that examinations are superficial to the extreme. OK if it’s just a cough or cold, potentially fatal as in our little girl’s case. We’ve learnt our lesson, no more income maximizing private practitioners for us.

Our daughter is now at the Tri Service General Hospital in Neihu. We’ve found that all the doctors and nurses (at least in the ICU and ER) do speak English to a great degree. In fact, we saw them reading English papers (because it is a teaching hospital, which means the staff are current). It is clean, if a bit spartan, but certainly of the same level as a decent hospital in Singapore or the US.


Hey lotusland

Hope your daughter gets well soon. What a horrible experience. Thanks for posting the warning.

My son had pneumococcal meningitis when he was 18 months old in Australia. I took him to a local GP 3 times the week prior and he was misdiagnosed, eventually became very ill and I took him to emergency at the children’s hospital and they admitted him to the ICU. The hospital doctors said its hard to diagnose these things as they develop, so the GP not at fault, but perhaps they were just protecting their own. I think the GP should have at least given some guidance on symptoms to look for for meningitis.

My son is fine now. But I feel for you as its an awful time.

I wonder where you could go in Taipei to find out which additional vaccinations to have?