What are pneumococcal infections?

Updated: Jun 08, 2020
  • Author: Eduardo Sanchez, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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Pneumococcal infections are caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, a gram-positive, catalase-negative organism commonly referred to as pneumococcus. S pneumoniae is the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, and otitis media, as well as an important cause of sinusitis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, peritonitis, and endocarditis. Complications of each of these diagnoses are common. See the image below. Clinical signs and symptoms and physical examination findings alone cannot distinguish S pneumoniae disease from infections caused by other pathogens.

Empyema caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Antero Empyema caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Anteroposterior film. Courtesy of R. Duperval, MD.

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