What is Streptococcus pneumoniae?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Meera Varman, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Streptococcus pneumoniae colonizes the upper respiratory tract of healthy individuals and is one of the most frequent causes of bacterial infection in children. Common infections caused by this pathogen include otitis media (OM), sinusitis, occult bacteremia, pneumonia, and meningitis. Pneumococci may also cause osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, pericarditis, and peritonitis. See the image below.

Sputum Gram stain from a patient with a pneumococc Sputum Gram stain from a patient with a pneumococcal pneumonia. Note the numerous polymorphonuclear neutrophils and gram-positive, lancet-shaped diplococci. Courtesy of C. Sinave, MD, personal collection.

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