About Pneumococcal Disease | Pneumococcal Disease

What it is

Any infection brought on by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is referred to as pneumococcal disease.


S. pneumoniae bacteria can cause many types of infections, including:

  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Bacteremia (bloodstream infection)
  • Otitis media (middle ear infection)
  • Sinusitis (sinus infection)


The affected bodily part determines the symptoms and problems.

Risk factors

Pneumococcal illness can affect everyone, but certain individuals are more susceptible than others.

How it spreads

Pneumococcal bacteria are transferred from person to person by direct contact with respiratory secretions such as mucus or saliva.


Pneumococcal illness may occur again in people.
Antibiotics are typically not prescribed by medical professionals to help people avoid contracting pneumococcal infections after exposure.
People can, however, take certain precautions to assist safeguard themselves.


Vaccination is the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease. CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for

  • All children younger than 5 years old
  • People 5 through 64 years old with certain risk conditions
  • Adults 65 years or older

Testing and diagnosis

Serious infections

Healthcare professionals will take blood or cerebrospinal fluid samples if they have reason to believe that a patient has meningitis or a bloodstream infection. The fluid that envelops the brain and spinal cord is called cerebrospinal fluid.
After that, they send the samples to a lab for analysis. Growing the bacteria in a laboratory helps identify the specific type of bacteria causing the infection. Molecular detection techniques can also be used by laboratories to check for these microorganisms in samples. Healthcare professionals can select the most effective antibiotic and other treatments by having a clear understanding of the underlying problem.
Healthcare providers can use a urine test to help make a diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia in adults.

Mild infections

Medical professionals typically identify sinus and ear infections by reviewing medical history and physical exam results that indicate pneumococcal infection.


Antibiotics are used by medical professionals to treat pneumococcal illness. To treat these infections, some pneumococcal bacteria have developed resistance to specific drugs. Which drugs will work best to treat the infection is revealed by antibiotic testing.


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