Stuttering is an interruption of the normal flow of speech, which takes on many different patterns. Commonly, it involves either saying a string of repeated sounds or making abnormal pauses during speech. In early childhood, stuttering is sometimes part of normal speech development. In fact, about 5% of all young children go through a brief period of stuttering when they are learning to talk. Stuttering typically is first noticed between the ages of 2 and 5. It usually goes away on its own within a matter of months. In a small number of children (around 1%), stuttering continues and may get worse. Boys are more likely to stutter than girls.
In addition, normal problems with fluency tend to come and go, or happen only at certain times (such as when a child is tired or excited), but true stuttering is present most of the time. Once a child begins to stutter, he or she may feel embarrassed, self-conscious or anxious when asked to speak. The child may find it hard to socialize with friends and also may intentionally avoid situations where talking is expected, such as telephone calls, classroom discussions and school plays.
It is estimated that in 2000, about 14.5 million episodes of serious pneumococcal disease occurred, resulting in about 826 000 deaths in children aged 1-59 months. In the developed world, serious disease occurs mainly in children under two years of age and in the elderly. In developing countries, the disease is common in children under two years, including newborn infants; rates of the disease in the elderly population are largely unknown. HIV infection and other conditions associated with immune deficiency greatly increase the likelihood of contracting pneumococcal disease. Growing resistance of pneumococcus to conventional antibiotics underlines the urgent need for vaccines to be used to control pneumococcal disease.