Pneumococcal pneumonia

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 28 Oct 2021

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a common lung infection caused by the organism Streptococcus pneumoniae (a.k.a. pneumococcus).

Pneumococcal pneumonia is one of the most common community-acquired pneumonias, and the most common in many areas. The pathogen afflicts all age groups worldwide. A significant number of people are healthy carriers of the less virulent strains of the bacteria.

The clinical presentation of pneumococcal pneumonia includes fever, cough and malaise and may also include chest pain and dyspnea or tachypnea.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a Gram positive diplococci. Virulent strains of this bacteria can cause many types of infections including pneumonia but also otitis media, meningitis, pericarditis and osteomyelitis. 

Radiographic appearances considered classic for pneumococcal pneumonia include lobar consolidations and air bronchograms in adults and round pneumonia in children, however this type of pneumonia can have many different appearances 1,2. CT may reveal lymphadenopathy and complications 5.

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