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(Streptococcus pneumoniae)

Copyright © 2020 C.E. by Dustin Jon Scott


Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as “pneumococcus” is a gram-positive, non-motile, facultatively anaerobic, diplococcal, hemolytic bacterium of the phylum Firmicutes, in the Streptococcaceae family of the Lactobacillales order within the Bacilli class. Its ecological niche is the nasopharynx of small children (Henriques-Normark & Tuomanen, 2013).

Figure 1Streptococcus pneumoniae; image from the Center for Disease Control (public domain).


Modes of hemolysis differ in pneumococcus depending on environment:

  • α-Hemolysis or “Green Hemolysis” — pneumococcus is α-hemolytic under aerobic conditons.
  • β-Hemolysis or “Complete Hemolysis” — pneumococcus is β-hemolytic under anaerobic conditions.

Polysaccarides & Pathogenicity

Pathogenic strains of S. pneumoniae are characterized by antiphagocytic polysaccharide capsules that sterically hinder access of leukocytes (Henriques-Normark & Tuomanen, 2013)


“Pneumococcal infections are thought to spread from person to person via droplets/aerosols and nasopharyngeal colonization is a prerequisite for pneumococcal disease.” (Henriques-Normark & Tuomanen, 2013)

Pneumococcal Diseases & Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

Additional symptoms known to occur in senescents:

  • confusion
  • lack of alertness

Pneumonal meningitis
Common symptoms include:

Common symptoms include:

Treatment of Pneumococcal Infections

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV)
Words go here.

  • PPSV23 or Pneumovax23®

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
Words go here.

  • PCV 13 or Prevnar® 13 (Pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine [Diphtheria CRM197 Protein]) — protects against serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, and 23.

PCV 13 Clinical Information

Indications & Usage
According to the FDA website:

  • Children ages 6 weeks to 5 years — active immunization against serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and23F. Active immunization against otitis media caused by serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F (no efficacy data are available for serotypes 1, 3, 5, 6A, 7F, and 19A).
  • Children ages 6-17 years — active immunization against serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and23F.
  • Adults ages 18+ years — active immunization against serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and 23F.

Administration & Dosage
According to the FDA website:

  • Children ages 6 weeks to 5 years — four-dose immunization series consisting of a 0.5 mL intramuscular injection administered at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months of age.
  • Children ages 6-17 years — a single dose.
  • Adults ages 18+ years — single dose.

Important Safety Information
According to Pfizer’s Prevnar 13 website and the FDA website, contraindications and adverse effects include:

  • Allergy risk — those who have previously had allergic reactions to any component of Prevnar 13 should not take the drug. Medications which include diphtheria toxoid may provoke severe allergic reactions.
  • Immunocompromised individuals — such as those suffering illness-related immunodificiency or individuals undergoing immunosupressive therapy should not take this drug.
  • Premature infants experienced apnea as the most common adverse effect.
  • Infants & toddlers — pneumonia, gastroenteritis, and bronchitis occured in 0.9%.
  • Children & adolescents — experienced redness, swelling, or tenderness at injection site as the most common adverse effects.
  • Adults pain, redness, swelling at injection site, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, limited arm movement, fatigue, headache, fatigue, fever/chillds, decreased appetite, and vomiting.


van de Beek, Diederik; de Gans, Jan; Tunkel, Allan R.; Wijdicks, Eelco F.M. (5 January 2006). Community-Acquired Bacterial Meningitis in Adults. New England Journal of Medicine. 354 (1): 44–53. doi:10.1056/NEJMra052116. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 16394301.

Wyeth LLC./Pfizer Inc. (2017). Prevnar 13. Retrieved January 26th, 2020 C.E., from

Birgitta Henriques-Normark and Elaine I. Tuomanen (2013). The Pneumococcus: Epidemiology, Microbiology, and Pathogenesis. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a010215

FDA information:

Immediate Phylogeny
Parent Group
Sister Groups
Streptococcus acidominimus
Streptococcus agalactiae
Streptococcus alactolyticus
Streptococcus anginosus
Streptococcus australis
Streptococcus bovis
Streptococcus caballi
Streptococcus cameli
Streptococcus canis
Streptococcus caprae
Streptococcus castoreus
Streptococcus criceti
Streptococcus constellatus
Streptococcus cuniculi
Streptococcus danieliae
Streptococcus dentasini
Streptococcus dentiloxodontae
Streptococcus dentirousetti
Streptococcus devriesei
Streptococcus didelphis
Streptococcus downei
Streptococcus dysgalactiae
Streptococcus entericus
Streptococcus equi
Streptococcus equinus
Streptococcus ferus
Streptococcus gallinaceus
Streptococcus gallolyticus
Streptococcus gordonii
Streptococcus halichoeri
Streptococcus halotolerans
Streptococcus henryi
Streptococcus himalayensis
Streptococcus hongkongensis
Streptococcus hyointestinalis
Streptococcus hyovaginalis
Streptococcus ictaluri
Streptococcus infantarius
Streptococcus infantis
Streptococcus iniae
Streptococcus intermedius
Streptococcus lactarius
Streptococcus loxodontisalivarius
Streptococcus lutetiensis
Streptococcus macacae
Streptococcus marimammalium
Streptococcus marmotae
Streptococcus massiliensis
Streptococcus merionis
Streptococcus minor
Streptococcus mitis
Streptococcus moroccensis
Streptococcus mutans
Streptococcus oligofermentans
Streptococcus oralis
Streptococcus oricebi
Streptococcus oriloxodontae
Streptococcus orisasini
Streptococcus orisratti
Streptococcus orisuis
Streptococcus ovis
Streptococcus panodentis
Streptococcus pantholopis
Streptococcus parasanguinis
Streptococcus parasuis
Streptococcus parauberis
Streptococcus peroris
Streptococcus pharyngis
Streptococcus phocae
Streptococcus pluranimalium
Streptococcus plurextorum
Streptococcus pneumoniae
Streptococcus porci
Streptococcus porcinus
Streptococcus porcorum
Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae
Streptococcus pseudoporcinus
Streptococcus pyogenes
Streptococcus ratti
Streptococcus rifensis
Streptococcus rubneri
Streptococcus rupicaprae
Streptococcus salivarius
Streptococcus saliviloxodontae
Streptococcus sanguinis
Streptococcus sinensis
Streptococcus sobrinus
Streptococcus suis
Streptococcus tangierensis
Streptococcus thoraltensis
Streptococcus troglodytae
Streptococcus troglodytidis
Streptococcus tigurinus
Streptococcus thermophilus
Streptococcus uberis
Streptococcus urinalis
Streptococcus ursoris
Streptococcus vestibularis
Streptococcus zooepidemicus

Domain: Bacteria
Kingdom: Terrabacteria
Phylum: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Lactobacillales
Family: Streptococcaceae
Genus: Streptococcus
Species: S. pneumoniae

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