What are pneumococcal infections?

Updated: Aug 27, 2018
  • Author: Claudia Antonieta Nieves Prado, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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Answer

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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