|Description:||This illustration depicts a three-dimensional (3D) computer-generated image of a cluster of sphere-shaped drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. The artistic recreation was based upon scanning electron microscopic (SEM) imagery. In this particular view, the bacteria were configured in chains of various lengths, or in pairs.|
Streptococcus pneumoniae (or pneumococcus) is the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis in the United States. It also is a major cause of bloodstream infections, and ear and sinus infections.
Pneumococcal disease, whether or not resistant to antibiotics, is a major public health problem. Pneumococcal disease causes 4 million disease episodes and 22,000 deaths annually. Pneumococcal ear infections (otitis media) are the most common type of pneumococcal disease among children, causing 1.5 million infections that often result in antibiotic use. Pneumococcal pneumonia is another important form of pneumococcal disease. Each year, nearly 160,000 children younger than 5 years old see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital with pneumococcal pneumonia. Among adults, over 600,000 seek care for or are hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumococcal pneumonia accounts for 72% of all direct medical costs for treatment of pneumococcal disease.