Types of Infection
Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, or pneumococcus, can cause many types of illnesses. Some of these illnesses can be life threatening.
Pneumococcus is the most common cause of bloodstream infections, pneumonia, meningitis, and middle ear infections in young children.
You have probably heard of pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. Many different bacteria, viruses, and even fungi can cause pneumonia. Pneumococcus is one of the most common causes of severe pneumonia.
Besides pneumonia, pneumococcus can cause other types of infections too, such as:
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
- Meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord)
- Bacteremia (bloodstream infection)
Doctors consider some of these infections “invasive.” Invasive disease means that germs invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs. For example, pneumococcal bacteria can invade the bloodstream, causing bacteremia, and the tissues and fluids covering the brain and spinal cord, causing meningitis. When this happens, disease is usually very severe, requiring treatment in a hospital and even causing death in some cases.