Streptococcus Pneumoniae Infections

What is Streptococcus Pneumoniae Infection?

Streptococcus Pneumoniae (S. Pneumoniae) is a type of bacteria that can cause serious infections. It is a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia, meningitis, and sinus infections around the world. Streptococcus pneumoniae infection can also cause ear infections and blood infections, particularly in children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems.

How do People get Infected with S. Pneumoniae?

People can become infected with S. Pneumoniae through direct contact with an infected person or through the air by inhaling tiny droplets from a sneeze or cough. Sharing food or drinks with someone carrying the bacteria can also lead to infection.

Symptoms of Streptococcus Pneumoniae Infections

The symptoms of S. Pneumoniae infections vary depending on the type of infection. Common symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include:

  • Coughing up yellow or green mucus
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Meningitis can cause symptoms such as:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away.

Diagnosis and Treatment of S. Pneumoniae Infections

If a doctor suspects that you have S. Pneumoniae infection, they may order a blood test or a test on samples of mucus, urine, or fluid from the spine. If the bacteria are present, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. While antibiotics are effective at treating the infection, it is important to take the medication for as long as directed, even if the symptoms go away.

Prevention of S. Pneumoniae Infection

The best way to prevent S. Pneumoniae infections is to practice good hygiene. This includes washing your hands often, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick.

It is also important to have the pneumonia vaccine, which can protect against the most common strains of S. Pneumoniae. If you are a healthcare worker or over the age of 65, you may qualify for a free pneumococcal vaccine. Talk to your doctor to find out if you qualify.