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. Researchers still are trying to determine why stuttering occurs. It runs in families, and genetic (inherited) factors probably play a larger part than previously recognized.
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. Somewhat unexpectedly, many children who stutter have no problem when they sing.
In Canada before 2005, large outbreaks of pneumococcal disease, including invasive pneumococcal disease caused by serotype 5, were rare. Since then, an epidemic of serotype 5 invasive pneumococcal disease was reported: 52 cases during 2005, 393 during 2006, 457 during 2007, 104 during 2008, and 42 during in 2009. Of these 1,048 cases, 1,043 (99.5%) occurred in the western provinces of Canada. Median patient age was 41 years, and most (659 [59.3%]) patients were male. Most frequently representing serotype 5 cases (compared with a subset of persons with non–serotype 5 cases) were persons who were of First Nations heritage or homeless.