How Dangerous Is Streptococcus Pneumoniae?

Written by phillip m. way
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How Dangerous Is Streptococcus Pneumoniae?
S. pneumoniae infections affect millions of people annually. (Image by, courtesy of Umberto Salvagnin)

Streptococcus pneumoniae, an invasive bacterial strain, is responsible for causing pneumonia, bacteraemia, otitis media, meningitis, sinusitis and peritonitis. This bacterium affects millions of people annually with conditions ranging from mild infections to life-threatening diseases.

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Streptococcus pneumoniae causes 1.2 million cases of pneumonia in the United States annually. As of 2006, more than 55,000 people die from this disease each year.


Bacteraemia is the presence of bacteria within the bloodstream. Infections in the blood lead to septic shock and death.

Otitis Media

Otitis media is inflammation and infection of the middle ear. Pain, perforated eardrum, dizziness, disorientation and hearing loss may result from infection.


Inflammation of the membranes and cerebral fluid surrounding the brain and spinal column cause fever, stiffness, headache and sometimes death.


Inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages cause headache, pressure behind the eyes, fever and congestion. These infections can last two to eight weeks and will cause severe discomfort and difficulty breathing if left untreated.


Inflammation of the lining of the abdomen and internal organs may cause pain, tenderness, fever, intestinal paralysis, abscess, sepsis and breathing difficulties.

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