Streptococcus pneumoniae

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Streptococcus pneumoniae is an infectious bacterium which causes many diseases incuding pneumonia[1]. S. pneumoniae is a Gram-positive bacteria[2].

S. pneumoniae is part of the genus Strepotococcus[3]. . They are usually found in pairs (diplococci) and are an example of a highly invasive pathogen. It is the main cause of pneumonia and meningitis in children and in the elderly. There are 2 types of S. pneumoniae infection; invasive (Infections of organs and blood, which are typically more harmful) and non-invasive (infections outside of major organs and blood, which are typically less harmful). Treatment for the different types of infection vary, with invasive strains being treated with antibiotics (either administered at home or hospital) and non-invasive strains usually go away without any need for serious treatment. Those at a higher risk of developing a S. pneumoniae infection are those with weakened immune systems (either due to illnesses, such as HIV, or those on medication that weakens the immune system, young children and elderly people). 2 types of vaccination can be given to reduce the chance of infection, these can either be pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) which is given to young children, or pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) which is typically given to elderly people and those at high risk of infection.

S. pneumoniae normally live as part of the natural bacterial flora that exists in the upper respiratory tract, however, unusually high amounts of the bacteria causes it to disrupt the balance of the system, allowing it to move and spread into the lungs, sinuses, and ears[4]. This can lead to an infection of the microbe, potentially causing pneumonia.


  1. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler's Health: Pneumococcal Disease - Streptococcus pneumoniae. 2014. Available at: [Accessed on: 05/12/17]
  2. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease - Streptococcus pneumoniae. 2017. Available at: [Accessed on: 05/12/2017]
  4. Aljecivic M, Karcic E, Bektas S, Karcic B, Representation of Streptococcus Pneumoniae in Outpatient Population of Sarajevo Canton, Medical Archives, 2015, 69(3), 177-180, Available from
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