What is Pneumococcal disease?
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, sometimes referred to as pneumococcus. Pneumococcus can cause many types of illnesses, including ear infections and meningitis.
How is it transmitted?
Pneumococcal bacteria spread from person-to-person by direct contact with respiratory secretions, like saliva or mucus. Many people, especially children, have the bacteria in their nose or throat at one time or another without being ill. This is called “carriage.”
What are the symptoms?
Pneumococcal pneumonia (lung infection) is the most common serious form of pneumococcal disease. Symptoms include:
Fever and chills, cough, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, chest pain.
Older adults with pneumococcal pneumonia may experience confusion or low alertness, rather than the more common symptoms listed above.
Pneumococcal meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include:
Stiff neck, fever and headache, pain when looking into bright lights, confusion.
In babies, meningitis may cause poor eating and drinking, low alertness, and vomiting.
Pneumococcal bacteremia and sepsis are blood infections. Symptoms include:
Fever, chills, low alertness.
Pneumococcus bacteria causes up to half of middle ear infections (otitis media). Symptoms include:
Ear pain, a red, swollen ear drum, fever and sleepiness.