Diagnosis and Medical Management

Tests are available to help diagnose invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia. Guidelines for treatment vary for community-acquired and healthcare-associated pneumonia.


Definitively diagnosing Streptococcus pneumoniae infection generally relies on isolating the organism from blood or other normally sterile body sites. Tests are also available to detect capsular polysaccharide antigen in body fluids.

Urinary antigen test

A commercially available urinary antigen test can detect the C-polysaccharide antigen of Streptococcus pneumoniae as a cause of community-acquired pneumonia. The test

  • Is rapid and simple to use
  • Has a reasonable specificity in adults
  • Can detect pneumococcal pneumonia after initiation of antibiotic therapy

Pneumococcal bacteria are resistant to one or more antibiotics in more than 30% of cases. See CDC’s pneumococcal antibiotic resistance data.