Pneumococci are a type of streptococcus bacteria. The bacteria spread through contact with people who are ill or by healthy people who carry the bacteria in the back of their nose. Pneumococcal infections can be mild or severe. The most common types of infections are
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
SYMPTOMS OF PNEUMOCOCCAL INFECTION
Pneumococcal pneumonia (lung infection) is the most common serious form of pneumococcal disease. Symptoms include:
- Fever and chills
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
Pneumococcal meningitis is an infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include:
- Stiff neck
- Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
In babies, meningitis may cause poor eating and drinking, low alertness, and vomiting.
Pneumococcal bacteremia is a blood infection. Symptoms include:
- Low alertness
Sepsis is a complication caused by the bodies overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Symptoms include:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- High heart rate
- Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
Pneumococcus bacteria cause up to half of middle ear infections (otitis media). Symptoms include:
- Ear pain
- A red, swollen ear drum
COMPLICATIONS OF PNEUMOCOCCAL INFECTION
Bacteremia-It is a type of invasive pneumococcal disease that infects the blood. About 1 out of 100 children younger than 5 years old with this bloodstream infection die of it. The chance of death from pneumococcal bacteremia is higher among elderly patients.
Pneumonia-It is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Complications of pneumococcal pneumonia include
- Infection of the space between membranes that surround the lungs and chest cavity (empyema)
- Inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
- Blockage of the airway that allows air into the lungs (endobronchial obstruction), with collapse within the lungs (atelectasis) and collection of pus (abscess) in the lungs
About 5 out of 100 people with non-invasive pneumococcal pneumonia will die from it, but that rate may be higher among elderly patients. Doctors consider pneumococcal pneumonia non-invasive if there’s not bacteremia or empyema occurring at the same time.
Sinus and ear infections are usually mild and are more common than the more severe forms of pneumococcal disease. However, some children develop repeated ear infections and may need ear tubes.