Pneumococcal meningitis is caused by streptococcus pneumoniae. It is the common cause of bacterial meningitis in adults and children. It is the cause of Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP). This can further develop in to sinusitis or septic arthritis.
Initially the bacterium was known as pneumococcus as it was the agent for pneumonia when it was isolated simultaneously by the US army physician George Sternberg and also by French chemist Louis Pasteur in 1881. The name was changed to Diplococcus pneumoniae in 1926 because of its appearance in gram-stained sputum. Later when it was observed that it grows in chains in liquid media, it was renamed again as Streptococcus pneumoniae in1974.
Is Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis contagious? Streptococcus pneumoniae is contagious but may not be highly contagious. It can be spread through direct contact with nose and throat secretions. Healthy people also have these bacteria in their nose and throat and can spread them to others. Sharing a glass, cup, a cigarette or sneezing in to another person’s face are some of the methods by which it can spread.
Symptoms of the disease can be mild in some people while they can be severe in others. In mild form the symptoms include headache, low-grade fever, and tiredness. The severe symptoms are fever, headache and stiff neck with other symptoms such as vomiting, sensitivity to light and confusion. Infants will be listless, irritable and sleepy.
As a preventive measure, the level of hygiene has to be improved. Persons need to cover their noses and mouths while sneezing and coughing. Sharing of eating and drinking utensils without proper washing is to be avoided.
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