Which clinical features suggest pneumococcal infection?

Updated: Jun 08, 2020
  • Author: Eduardo Sanchez, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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S pneumoniae can cause a wide variety of clinical symptoms owing to its ability to cause disease by either direct extension from the nasopharynx into surrounding anatomic structures or vascular invasion with hematogenous spread. Features that should prompt the clinician to consider pneumococcal infection include the following:

  • High-risk age groups (children younger than 5 years, particularly aged 2 years or younger; adults older than 55-65 years)
  • Conditions that cause immune deficits (eg, HIV infection, malignancy, or diabetes mellitus)
  • Conditions associated with decreased pulmonary clearance functions (eg, asthma, chronic bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD])
  • Presentation from late fall to early spring

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