Pneumococcal disease is the term used to describe infections caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). The bacterium can cause invasive and non-invasive pneumococcal disease. Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) includes septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis.
More common non-invasive diseases, where the bacterium spread through the respiratory tract, include middle ear infections (otitis media), sinusitis and bronchitis. Invasive pneumococcal disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality both globally and in the UK. IPD particularly affects the very young, the elderly, those with an absent or non-functioning spleen and other causes of impaired immunity. The Pneumococcus is now one of the most frequent causes of invasive bacterial infection in children. [more...]