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Date of preparation: March 2018

Which treatment and prevention measures can be offered to patients?

Vaccination is the most effective method for prevention of pneumococcal disease. Treatments for pneumococcal disease (depending on the severity) include parenteral antibiotic administration, analgesics, administration of intravenous fluids, treatment with steroids, or intensive care with assisted ventilation, which typically require hospital administration. Pneumococcal vaccination is intramuscular and enables protection against the pneumococcal serotypes which cause the most severe disease in children and adults. 1-4


Treatment with antibiotics usually includes administration of a broad-spectrum cephalosporin, and often vancomycin, until results of antibiotic sensitivity testing are available. Resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae to penicillin and other antibiotics is common. 4

Does prior infection lead to adaptive immunity?  

Because there are more than 90 known pneumococcal serotypes that cause disease, a previous pneumococcal infection may not result in protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. 1


  1. CDC. Pneumococcal Disease. Prevention. Available at: [Last accessed June 2015].
  2. Medscape. Pneumococcal infections treatment and management. Available at: [Last accessed June 2015].
  3. Medscape. Bacterial pneumonia treatment and management. Available at: [Last accessed June 2015].
  4. 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:233–248.