Pneumococcal infections

Anthony Scott

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Pneumococcal infections

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  • Medical Microbiology and Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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Streptococcus pneumoniae is an encapsulated Gram-positive bacterium that lives almost exclusively in the human nasopharynx. Each pneumococcus expresses one of more than 90 immunologically distinguishable capsular polysaccharides that are the principal target of systemic human immunity and define its serotype.

Pneumococci are transmitted through contact with infected nasal secretions or by airborne dissemination, and most preschool children carry them in their nasopharynx. The risk of acquisition is increased by contact with other children, crowded environments, and cold weather. The incidence of pneumococcal disease is highest in young children and elderly people, and also increased in males, certain indigenous populations, smokers, alcoholics, and patients with chronic medical illnesses or immune susceptibility, including HIV infection, sickle cell disease, and splenectomy....

Chapter.  11188 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Microbiology and Virology ; Infectious Diseases

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