What bacteria causes pneumococcal infections?
Streptococcus Pneumoniae is most commonly carried in the nasopharynx of healthy children 2 years of age or under. 1 Streptococcus pneumoniae is the cause of all pneumococcal infections, which can result in a range of clinical manifestations, such as invasive pneumococcal disease (which includes meningitis, bacteraemia, septicaemia, bacteraemic pneumonia or septic arthritis), as well as non-invasive pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia, otitis media, and sinusitis. 2 3
How is Streptococcus pneumoniae transmitted?
Infants and young children are thought to be the main reservoir of Streptococcus pneumoniae, with the prevalence of nasopharyngeal carriage ranging from 27% in developed countries to 85% in developing countries. 2
Streptococcus pneumoniae is transmitted by aerosol, droplets or direct contact with respiratory secretions of someone carrying the bacteria; usually requiring either frequent or prolonged close contact. 4
Pneumococcal infections can spread to various part of the body (e.g. bloodstream, brains or lungs) and result in a range of clinical manifestations. 2 These include invasive pneumococcal disease (isolation of pneumococci from a normally sterile site, e.g. meningitis, bacteraemia, septicaemia, bacteraemic pneumonia or septic arthritis), and non-invasive pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia, otitis media, sinusitis. 2 3 Non-invasive diseases such as otitis media and sinusitis are milder, but more common, than more serious clinical manifestations such as meningitis, bacteraemia and pneumonia. 4
- Andrade AL, et al. Direct effect of 10-valent conjugate pneumococcal vaccination on pneumococcal carriage in children Brazil. PLoS One 2014; 9: e98128.
- WHO. Pneumococcal vaccines WHO position paper – 2012. Weekly epidemiological record 2012; 87:129-44. Available at: http://www.who.int/wer/2012/wer8714.pdf?ua=1 [Last accessed January 2015].
- Ross JJ, et al. Pneumococcal Septic Arthritis: Review of 190 Cases. Clin Infect Dis 2003; 36: 319–27.
- CDC. Chapter 16: Pneumococcal Disease. In: Atkinson W, Wolfe S, Hamborsky J, eds. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases [Pink Book]. 12th edn. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation; 2012e: 233–48.