PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE

Pneumococcal disease refers to any illness caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus. Infections caused by pneumococcal bacteria may vary from sinus and ear infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections. The pneumococcal disease may be prevented using vaccinations.

TYPES

There are types of pneumococcal disease. Here are:

  • Pneumonia. A lung infection
  • Bacteremia. A blood infection
  • Sinusitis. A sinus infection
  • Meningitis. An infection of the spinal cord and brain lining
  • Otitis media. A middle ear infection

SYMPTOMS

The pneumococcal disease may refer to a variety of infections. The symptoms vary depending on whatever area of the body is infected. The majority of pneumococcal infections are minor. Some, however, may be fatal or cause long-term issues.

Symptoms may depend on what type of pneumococcal disease:

Pneumonia

  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Chills and fever

Bacteremia

  • Low alertness
  • Chills
  • Fever

Sinus Infection

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Headache
  • Loss of the sense of smell
  • Postnasal drip

Meningitis

  • Fever
  • Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
  • Stiff neck
  • Headache
  • Confusion

Otitis Media

  • A red, swollen eardrum
  • Sleepiness
  • Ear pain
  • Fever

DIAGNOSIS

Doctors may take cerebrospinal fluid or blood samples if they suspect significant pneumococcal diseases, such as bloodstream or meningitis infections. The fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain is known as cerebrospinal fluid. Look at the lumbar puncture illustration to show how a doctor obtains this fluid. The samples are subsequently sent to a laboratory for examination by doctors.

Raising bacteria in a laboratory helps identify the precise kind of bacteria causing the infection. Also, understanding the reason allows physicians to choose the best therapy, including the most effective antibiotic.

A urine test may assist doctors in making a diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia in adults. Sinus and ear infections are often done depending on a history and physical exam findings that suggest pneumococcal infection.

TREATMENT

Antibiotics are used to treat pneumococcal disease. However, certain bacteria have developed resistance to specific medicines. Until the findings of antibiotic sensitivity testing are known, antibiotic therapy for significant pneumococcal infections often involves ‘broad-spectrum’ antibiotics. 

While broad-spectrum antibiotics are effective against various germs, physicians may choose a more specialized (or ‘narrow-spectrum’) antibiotic. Because of the effectiveness of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the frequency of antibiotic-resistant illnesses has reduced, and judicious antibiotic administration may slow or reverse drug-resistant diseases.

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