- What is pneumococcal pneumonia?
- What causes pneumococcal pneumonia?
- How is pneumococcal pneumonia transmitted?
- What are pneumococcal pneumonia symptoms?
- How is pneumococcal pneumonia diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for pneumococcal pneumonia?
- Can pneumococcal pneumonia be prevented?
- What are possible complications of pneumococcal pneumonia?
- What research is being done on pneumococcal pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung disease. Pneumococcal pneumonia, a kind of pneumonia, can infect the upper respiratory tract and can spread to the blood, lungs, middle ear, or nervous system.
Pneumococcal pneumonia mainly causes illness in children younger than 5 years old and adults 65 years of age or older. The elderly are especially at risk of getting seriously ill and dying from this disease. In addition, people with certain medical conditions, such as chronic heart, lung, or liver diseases, or sickle cell anemia are also at increased risk for getting pneumococcal pneumonia. People with HIV/AIDS or people who have had organ transplants and are taking medicines that lower their resistance to infection are also at high risk of getting this disease.
Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of viruses, bacteria, and sometimes fungi. Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or strep. S. pneumoniae is also called pneumococcus.
Pneumococcus is spread through contact with people who are ill or who carry the bacteria in their throat. You can get pneumococcal pneumonia from respiratory droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person. It is common for people, especially children, to carry the bacteria in their throats without being sick.
Pneumococcal pneumonia may begin suddenly. You may first have a severe shaking chill which is usually followed by:
Other symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider can diagnose pneumonia based on your
- Physical exam
- Lab tests
- Chest x-ray
Other bacteria and germs also can cause pneumonia. Therefore, if you have any of the symptoms of pneumonia, you should get diagnosed early and start taking medicine, if appropriate.
Your healthcare provider can usually diagnose pneumococcal pneumonia by finding Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria in your blood, saliva, or lung fluid.
Your healthcare provider usually will prescribe antibiotics to treat this disease. The symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia usually go away within 12 to 36 hours after you start taking medicine.
Some bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, however, are now capable of resisting and fighting off antibiotics. Such antibiotic resistance is increasing worldwide because these medicines have been overused or misused. Therefore, if you are at risk of getting pneumococcal pneumonia, you should talk with your healthcare provider about what you can do to prevent it.
Getting the pneumococcal vaccine is the main way you can reduce your chances of getting pneumococcal pneumonia. Vaccines are available for children and adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine if you are in any of the following groups:
- You are 65 years old or older
- You have a serious long-term health problem such as heart disease, sickle cell disease, alcoholism, lung disease (not including asthma), diabetes, or liver cirrhosis
- Your resistance to infection is lowered due to
- Lymphoma, leukemia, or other cancers
- Cancer treatment with X-rays or medicines
- Treatment with long-term steroid medicines
- Bone marrow or organ transplant
- Kidney failure or kidney syndrome
- Damaged spleen or no spleen
- You are an Alaskan Native or from certain Native American populations
CDC also recommends that all babies and children younger than 59 months old get the pneumococcal vaccine. Children over 24 months old who are at high risk of getting pneumococcal disease and adults with risk factors may receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
Contact your healthcare provider to find out whether you or your child should be vaccinated to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia.
In about 30 percent of people with pneumococcal pneumonia, the bacteria invade the bloodstream from the lungs. This causes bacteremia, a very serious complication of pneumococcal pneumonia that also can cause other lung problems and certain heart problems.
NIAID supports research on more effective prevention and treatment approaches to control pneumonia and its causes, including:
- Developing and testing vaccines and treatments for the disease-causing microbes that cause pneumonia
- Stimulating research on the structure and function of these microbes
- Developing better and more rapid tools to diagnose pneumonia
- Understanding the long-term health impact respiratory pathogens (germs) have in various populations
- Examining the effect of vaccines in high-risk populations
- Determining how pneumococcus causes disease and becomes resistant to antibiotics
NIAID research has made important contributions to developing the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for children. This vaccine helps prevent pneumococcal diseases in babies and toddlers and is the latest advance in developing vaccines against common bacterial infections.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Top Pneumonia Facts Related Articles
Fever in Adults and ChildrenAlthough a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Alcohol Abuse SlidesRead about the health risks of chronic heavy or binge drinking. Anemia, cancer, gout, cardiovascular disease and many more disease can be caused from heavy or binge drinking.
Chest X-RayChest X-Ray is a type of X-Ray commonly used to detect abnormalities in the lungs. A chest X-ray can also detect some abnormalities in the heart, aorta, and the bones of the thoracic area. A chest X-ray can be used to define abnormalities of the lungs such as excessive fluid (fluid overload or pulmonary edema), fluid around the lung (pleural effusion), pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, cysts, and cancers. Normal chest X-ray shows normal size and shape of the chest wall and the main structures in the chest
Energy Foods for COPDBoost your energy and combat COPD with these diet tips. Which foods can help patients with COPD? Which foods to avoid for COPD? Learn more about how diet can affect lung health.
What Are the Different Types of Mechanical Ventilation?Mechanical ventilation is a treatment to help a person breathe when they find it difficult or are unable to breathe on their own. A mechanical ventilator pushes airflow into the patient’s lungs. Mechanical ventilation is part of the arsenal of supportive care clinicians use for COVID-19 coronavirus disease patients with the most severe lung symptoms.
Do Face Masks Offer Protection From the New Coronavirus?In 2019, a new coronavirus strain named COVID-19 (or 2019-nCoV) began causing severe respiratory illness and sometimes fatal pneumonia throughout the world. This new coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China. The new coronavirus spreads rapidly via the inhalation of respiratory droplets from infected people. Face masks cannot prevent airborne virus protection, they're difficult to wear for long stretches of time, and you must dispose of the mask after touching it.
Endotracheal IntubationDoctors perform endotracheal intubation when a patient cannot breathe on their own, whether it is due to surgery, disease, or an emergency. Endotracheal intubation is the safest way of providing breathing support to COVID-19 coronavirus disease patients who have severe lung symptoms.
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
HiccupsHiccups are a sudden, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm muscle. In general hiccups are just a temporary condition. Some of the causes of hiccups include certain medications, surgery, eating or drinking too much, spicy foods, diseases or conditions that irritate the nerves controlling the diaphragm, strokes, brain tumors, liver failure, and noxious fumes. There are a variety of home remedies and treatments that can be used to get rid of hiccups.
Cough: 19 Tips on How to Stop a CoughCoughing is a reflex that helps a person clear their airways of irritants. There are many causes of an excessive or severe cough including irritants like cigarette and secondhand smoke, pollution, air fresheners, medications like beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, the common cold, GERD, lung cancer, and heart disease.Natural and home remedies to help cure and soothe a cough include stay hydrated, gargle saltwater, use cough drops or lozenges, use herbs and supplements like ginger, mint, licorice, and slippery elm, and don't smoke. Over-the-counter products (OTC)to cure and soothe a cough include cough suppressants and expectorants, and anti-reflux drugs. Prescription drugs that help cure a cough include narcotic medications, antibiotics, inhaled steroids, and anti-reflux drugs like proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, for example, omeprazole (Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex), and pantoprazole (Protonix).
Lungs PictureThe lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). See a picture of the Lungs and learn more about the health topic.
Do I Have Pneumonia QuizPneumonia can be deadly. Take the Pneumonia Quiz on MedicineNet to learn more about this highly contagious, infectious disease.
Indoor Air PollutionDo you know what pollutants are threatening your indoor air quality? Learn about exposure to carbon monoxide, radon, pesticides, and other environmental contaminants and their health effects.
Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)
Staphylococcus or staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
Staph Infection SlideshowDo you know what a staph infection is? Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of staph infections (Staphylococcus aureus), and how this group of bacteria can cause a multitude diseases ranging from mild to potentially fatal.
X-RaysX-rays are a powerful form of electromagnetic radiation that has the ability to pass through solid objects. In medicine, X-rays are used to obtain an image of a part of the body. X-rays are necessary to diagnose many illnesses, for example, tumors, arthritis, dental problems, digestive or heart problems, and bone fractures. The side effects, dangers, and risks of having X-rays while pregnant or breastfeeding are provided.