Pneumococcal Infection


About Pneumococcal Infection

What is Pneumococcal Infection?

Pneumococcus or Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria that commonly causes infection in the respiratory tract (otitis media, bronchitis, pneumonia). This bacteria can invade other body sites and the infection can become life threatening. Pneumococcal infection can result in meningitis, septicaemia etc. It often causes illness in the very young, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease etc. Because it can also cause severe infection in otherwise healthy individuals, it is routinely recommended to individuals at high risk.

How is Pneumococcal infection transmitted?

Pneumococcus is spread by the respiratory route through droplets in the air that are generated from coughing and sneezing.

Why should I take Pneumococcal vaccination?

There are 2 formulations of pneumococcal vaccination available: the pneumoccal conjugated vaccine (PCV) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV).

Pneumococcal vaccination using the conjugate formulation is part of the childhood immunization programme of many countries including Singapore. It is administered as a series of 3 vaccinations in the childhood immunization programme. Other than children,it is also recommended for adults at risk for pneumococcal infection.

Points to Note:

Laboratory diagnostic tests are not perfect and are not 100% accurate

  • We do not have a test for every disease or virus but most of those pathogens that are of public health importance or have long term implications on your health can be tested
  • No one single test can be used with absolute certainty to diagnose a disease. Often, we depend on a combination of tests to make a diagnosis
  • Sometimes, we have to resort to trial treatment or empiric treatment if investigative tests are inconclusive. If the patient makes a therapeutic response and feels better, we have achieved our goal
  • In PUO, we are looking for treatable causes and to rule out sinister causes eg. malignancies so that we do not miss opportunities for early treatment or intervention

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