Streptococcus pneumoniae is a gram positive encapsulated coccus.
Over 90 serotypes have been identified, but two thirds of pneumococcal disease in the UK is caused by 9 of these serotypes.
- Widespread pathogen
- Colonises the upper respiratory tract along with normal flora in:
- up to 30% of healthy adults
- up to 60% of healthy children
- Easily transmitted (droplet spread)
- Transmitted by close contact (1-2 metres)
More common in winter.
Immunisation exists for over 20 of the serotypes, but its place in clinical practice is not yet firmly established, its effectiveness appears less than we might hope. It is recommended for several categories of patient.