Streptococcus pneumoniae infection

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Streptococcus pneumoniae infection Microchapters


Patient Information



Community Acquired Pneumonia


Laboratory Findings

Medical Therapy

Primary Prevention

This page is about clinical aspects of the disease.  For microbiologic aspects of the causative organism(s), see Streptococcus pneumoniae.

For patient information click here.

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Usama Talib, BSc, MD [2]

Synonyms and keywords: Strep pnumoniae; Strep pneumoniae infection


Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, is a Gram-positive bacterium. It is a diplococcus, alpha-hemolytic member of the Streptococcus genus.[1] During the 19th century pneumonia was heavily associated with this pathogen. S. pneumoniae is known to be the cause of various different infections apart from pneumonia including endocarditis, meningitis, pericarditis, brain abscess, otitis media, osteomyelitis, acute sinusitis, septic arthritis, peritonitis, and cellulitis. In children as well as adults, S. pneumoniae is the most common cause of otitis media as well as bacterial meningitis.[2] Pneumonia caused by S. pneumoniae is usually found at the extremes of the age (in old or very young individuals). Streptococcus viridans also belongs to the family of alpha hemolytic bacteria but can e distinguished from S. pneumoniae by an optochin test. Streptococcus viridans are found to be insensitive to optochin where as S. pneumoniae are found to be optochin sensitive. The most potent virulence factor of S. pneumoniae is its polysaccharide capsule. Up to 91 various types of capsules have been discovered; each of these differ in virulence, drug resistance, prevalence, and distribution.


Streptococcus pneumoniae infections may be classified as follows:

Streptococcus Pneumoniae Infection
Community Acquired Pneumonia

Laboratory Findings

Depending on the nature of infection, an appropriate sample is collected from the infected area for laboratory identification. Commonly found

Laboratory Diagnosis

Diagnosis of streptococcus pneumoniae infection is generally made based on clinical suspicion along with a positive culture from a sample from virtually any place in the body.


  • Streptococcus pneumonia treatment
  • 1. Lung (Community-acquired pneumonia)[6]
  • 1.1 Penicillin sensitive (minimum inhibitory concentration < 2 mcg/ml)
  • 2.Endocarditis[7]
  • Preferred regimen (1): Aqueous crystalline Penicillin-G 6 MU q4-6h IV for 4 weeks
  • Preferred regimen (2) (who are unable to tolerate beta lactams therapy): Vancomycin 15 mg/kg IV q12h (target trough concentration, 10-15 mcg/mL); for troughs of 15-20 mcg/mL (MIC, 1 mcg/mL or less), 15-20 mg/kg (actual body weight) IV q8-12h for most patients with normal renal function
  • Preferred regimen (3) (If the isolate is resistant (MIC 2 g/mL) to cefotaxime): Cefotaxime 1-2 g q8-12h IV/IM (max dose: 12 g/24 hr) AND Vancomycin 15 mg/kg/day IV q12h AND Rifampin 300 mg IV/PO q8h for 6 weeks, in combination with appropriate antimicrobial therapy
  • Alternative regimen (1): Cefazolin 0.5-2 g q8h IV/IM (max dose: 12 g/24 hr)
  • Alternative regimen (2): Ceftriaxone 2 g IV q12h
  • Note : Streptococcus pneumoniae with intermediate doses minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) 0.12 g/mL–0.5 g/mL Penicillin resistance (MIC 0.1 to 1.0 g/mL) or high Penicillin resistance (MIC 2.0 g/mL) is being recovered from patients with bacteremia.
  • 3. Sinuses (sinusitis)[8]
  • Empiric therapy
  • 3.1 For initial empiric treatment of acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in adults
  • 3.2 For second-line high-dose therapy for acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in adults
  • Preferred regimen: Amoxicillin 2 g/Clavulanate 125 mg PO bid recommended by the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA).
  • Note: The second line high dose therapy is recommended in adults who have failed initial therapy, in regions of high endemic rates (10% or greater) of invasive Penicillin-nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae, severe infection.
  • 4. Bronchi (acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis)[9]
  • Preferred regimen (1): Amoxicillin 875 mg PO q12h or 500 mg PO q8h
  • Preferred regimen (2): Doxycycline 100 mg PO q12h
  • 5. CNS (meningitis)[10]
  • Empiric therapy
Note: Middle ear infections (otitis media), peritoneum infections (spontaneous bacterial peritonitis), pericardium infections (purulent pericarditis), skin infections (cellulitis) and eye infections (conjunctivitis) caused by Streptococcus pneumonia.


  • General principles
  • 1. Pneumovax (23-valent) prevents bacteremia; impact on rates of CAP are modest or nil.
  • 2. Prevnar vaccine for children <2 yrs age prevents invasive pneumococcal infection in adults by herd effect. Impact is impressive with rates of invasive pneumococcal infection down 80% in peds and 20-40% in adults.
  • 3. Risk for bacteremia in splenectomy, HIV, smokers, black race, multiple myeloma, asthma.

Vaccination in the USA

  • A heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine vaccine (PCV 7) (e.g. Prevnar) is recommended in the USA since 2000 for all children between 2 to 23 months of age. PCV 7 is also recommended for children between 24 to 59 months of age if they are at risk of getting the infection.
  • The vaccination is generally given as a 4-doses series at 2, 4, 6 & 12 - 14 months of age.
  • The PCV 7 provides a good protection is good against deep pneumococcal infections (especially septicemia and meningitis). Some new vaccines being tested are 9- and 13-valent. No protection is offered if the child is infected by a pneumococcus serotype that is not a component of the current vaccine. The ability of capsular-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines to promote the spread of non-covered serotypes and the limitation has led to research into vaccines that would provide species-wide protection.
  • Pneumovax™ which is one trade name for the Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine which approximately provides 85% protection for 5 or more years in individuals younger than age 55.
  • Individuals at a high risk of infection such as those who are 65 years or older are recommended to get the vaccine.
  • Generally it is a single once in a lifetime dose as it is associated with high risk of side effects with repitition. The standard 23-valent vaccines are not effective for children who are less than two years old.
  • The American College of Physicians in its current guidelines recommends immunization administration between 2 to 65 years old in the presence of indications, or at age 65. If someone received the immunization before age 60, the guidelines call for a one-time revaccination.

Vaccination in the UK

  • It was announced in February 2006 that the UK government would introduce vaccination with the conjugate vaccine in children aged 2, 4 and 13 months.[11][12] This is expected to start on September 4, 2006 and is to include changes to the immunisation programme in general.[13]

Vaccination Worldwide


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  2. Dagan R. "Treatment of acute otitis media - challenges in the era of antibiotic resistance". Vaccine. 19 Suppl 1: S9–S16. PMID 11163457.
  3. Siemieniuk, Reed A.C. (Nov 2011). "The persisting burden of invasive pneumococcal disease in HIV patients: an observational cohort study" (PDF). BMC Infectious Diseases. 11: 314. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-314. PMC 3226630. PMID 22078162. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  4. Pikis, A; Campos, JM; Rodriguez, WJ; Keith, JM (2001). "Optochin resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae: mechanism, significance, and clinical implications". Journal of Infectious Diseases. 184 (5): 582–590. doi:10.1086/322803. PMID 11474432.
  5. Zheng CJ, Sohn MJ, Kim WG. (2006). "Atromentin and leucomelone, the first inhibitors specific to enoyl-ACP reductase (FabK) of Streptococcus pneumoniae". Journal of Antibiotics. 59 (12): 808–12. doi:10.1038/ja.2006.108. PMID 17323650.
  6. Mandell LA, Wunderink RG, Anzueto A, Bartlett JG, Campbell GD, Dean NC; et al. (2007). "Infectious Diseases Society of America/American Thoracic Society consensus guidelines on the management of community-acquired pneumonia in adults". Clin Infect Dis. 44 Suppl 2: S27–72. doi:10.1086/511159. PMID 17278083.
  7. Baddour LM, Wilson WR, Bayer AS, Fowler VG, Bolger AF, Levison ME; et al. (2005). "Infective endocarditis: diagnosis, antimicrobial therapy, and management of complications: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Committee on Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease, Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young, and the Councils on Clinical Cardiology, Stroke, and Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia, American Heart Association: endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America". Circulation. 111 (23): e394–434. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.165564. PMID 15956145.
  8. Chow AW, Benninger MS, Brook I, Brozek JL, Goldstein EJ, Hicks LA; et al. (2012). "IDSA clinical practice guideline for acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in children and adults". Clin Infect Dis. 54 (8): e72–e112. doi:10.1093/cid/cir1043. PMID 22438350.
  9. Bartlett, John (2012). Johns Hopkins ABX guide : diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. ISBN 978-1449625580.
  10. Tunkel AR, Hartman BJ, Kaplan SL, Kaufman BA, Roos KL, Scheld WM; et al. (2004). "Practice guidelines for the management of bacterial meningitis". Clin Infect Dis. 39 (9): 1267–84. doi:10.1086/425368. PMID 15494903.
  11. "Children to be given new vaccine" BBC News, February 08, 2006, retrieved August 25, 2006
  12. "Pneumococcal vaccine added to the childhood immunisation programme" February 08, 2006
  13. "Changes to the immunisation programme in the UK" Meningitis Research Foundation, retrieved August 25, 2006
  14. "PneumoADIP website"