Pneumococcal infections, caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, can affect anyone. However, some people are at a greater risk of the infection than others, such as the following people:
- Adults 65 years of age or older
- Children aged younger than two years
- People with certain underlying conditions that reduce immunity, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
Children with HIV infection, functional or anatomic asplenia (absence of spleen), and sickle cell disease are more likely to develop the invasive pneumococcal disease than other children of the same age without these conditions.
Other risk factors for developing pneumococcal infections include the following people:
- Young children attending childcare
- People with
- Cigarette smokers
- Those with a cerebrospinal fluid leak (leakage of the fluid present around the brain and spinal cord)
- People with a cochlear implant
- Children of certain racial and ethnic groups
- Alaska Natives
- African Americans
- Native Americans
How common is pneumococcal infection?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 150,000 hospitalizations from pneumococcal pneumonia occur every year in the United States. Complications of pneumonia include empyema, pericarditis, and respiratory failure with about five to seven percent of people dying from the disease. People 65 years of age or older have an even higher rate of death due to pneumococcal infections.
What is invasive pneumococcal disease?
Invasive pneumococcal diseases mean that the bacteria pneumococcus has invaded the parts of the body that are normally free from germs (such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and the fluid around the lungs or pleural fluid). The infection typically requires hospitalization, and the disease causes further complications.
What are the invasive pneumococcal diseases?
Other common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Rusty sputum
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Low oxygen level
If a person has pneumococcal meningitis, they may experience symptoms that may include:
- Neck rigidity or stiffness
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- Poor eating and drinking
Some people with meningitis may have pneumonia.
Pneumococcal meningitis causes the death of about 1 in 12 children and one in seven older adults.
Otitis media (middle ear infection)
Symptoms of middle ear infections (otitis media) caused by pneumococcal bacteria include:
Ear infections are usually mild but more common than other conditions caused by pneumococcus.
Bacteremia (blood infection)
If a person has bacteremia caused by pneumococcus, they may experience:
Pneumococcus can cause a widespread infection that results in multiorgan damage. If a person develops it, they may present with signs and symptoms that include:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease: Risk Factors. https://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/clinicians/risk-factors.html
Sexton DJ. Invasive Pneumococcal (Streptococcus pneumoniae) Infections and Bacteremia. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/invasive-pneumococcal-streptococcus-pneumoniae-infections-and-bacteremia
Top Greatest Risk of Invasive Pneumococcal Infection Related Articles
Ear Infections: All About Ear ConditionsWhat's that? I can't hear you. Maybe it's tinnitus, or impacted ear wax, or cauliflower ear (yup, that's a thing). Find out what may be ailing your ears in this slideshow.
Can Pneumonia Go Away On Its Own?Mild pneumonia may be healed by body’s defense system. However severe cases of pneumonia require medical attention especially viral pneumonia.
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)Middle ear infection (otitis media) is inflammation of the middle ear. There are two forms of this type of ear infection, acute and chronic. Acute otitis media is generally short in duration, and chronic otitis media generally lasts several weeks. Babies, toddlers, and children with a middle ear infection may be irritable, pull and tug at their ears, and experience numerous other symptoms and signs. Treatment depends upon the type of ear infection.
How Long Is Pneumonia Contagious?Pneumonia may be contagious for 2-14 days. Usually, the goal of medications given for pneumonia is to limit the spread of the disease.
Is Meningitis Contagious?Meningitis, inflammation of the meninges, symptoms and signs include neck stiffness, headache, and fever. There are five types of meningitis: viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and noninfectious.
Is Pneumonia Contagious?Pneumonia is inflammation of the lung usually caused by bacterial or viral infection (rarely, also by fungi) that causes the air sacs to fill with pus. If inflammation affects both lungs, the infection is termed double pneumonia. If it affects one lung, it is termed single pneumonia. If it affects only a certain lobe of a lung it's termed lobar pneumonia. Most pneumonias are caused by bacteria and viruses, but some pneumonias are caused by inhaling toxic chemicals that damage lung tissue.
MeningitisMeningitis is inflammation of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain. Symptoms include fever, headache, and a stiff neck. Treatment of meningitis depends upon the cause of the infection and may include antibiotics or antiviral medications.
Meningitis QuizWhat is meningitis and what causes it? Take our Meningitis Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, treatments, and complications of this potentially life-threatening disease.
Pneumococcal Vaccination (Pneumonia Vaccine)Pneumococcal vaccination prevents one of the most common and severe forms of pneumonia. It is usually given only once in a lifetime, usually after the age of 55, to someone with ongoing lung problems (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma) or other chronic diseases (including those involving the heart and kidneys).
PneumoniaPneumonia is inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Symptoms and signs include cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chills. Antibiotics treat pneumonia, and the choice of the antibiotic depends upon the cause of the infection.
Do I Have Pneumonia QuizPneumonia can be deadly. Take the Pneumonia Quiz on MedicineNet to learn more about this highly contagious, infectious disease.
SepsisSepsis (blood poisoning) is a potentially deadly infection with signs and symptoms that include elevated heart rate, low or high temperature, rapid breathing and/or a white blood cell count that is too high or too low and has more than 10% band cells. Most cases of sepsis are caused by bacterial infections, and some cases are caused by fungal infections. Treatment requires hospitalization, IV antibiotics, and therapy to treat any organ dysfunction.
What Are the Warning Signs of Sepsis?Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening reaction of the body to an infection. Learn more about sepsis, the warning signs and symptoms, how doctors diagnose sepsis, and your treatment options.