Pneumococcus

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Changed on: 17.05.2021
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Pneumococci are bacteria that can cause severe pneumonia. Pneumococcal infections occur at all times of the year, but show a seasonal cluster in the winter months. The WHO estimates that about 1.6 million deaths worldwide are caused by pneumococcal infections each year.

Occurrence

worldwide

Pathogen reservoir

Humans

Mode of transmission

Colonization of the nasopharynx with pneumococci usually occurs in infancy, mostly during the first two years of life, and decreases with increasing age. Pneumococci can be transmitted from person to person by droplets.

Symptoms

In adults, pneumonia (pneumococcal pneumonia) occurs predominantly. In addition, diseases such as joint inflammation (arthritis), inflammation of the heart valves (endocarditis) and peritonitis can occur.

Therapy

The disease can be treated with antibiotics. Three vaccines are currently available in Austria.

Situation in Austria

Pneumococcal diseases are very common in Austria. However, only invasive diseases are notifiable. In 2020, 356 invasive pneumococcal infections (IPE) were registered by the national surveillance system for IPE. This results in an incidence of 4.0/100,000 persons.

Figure 1: Invasive pneumococcal diseases in Austria 2005-2020


Legende

    Professional information

    Since July 2006, an amendment to the Epidemic Act of 1950 has made not only pneumococcal meningitis but all invasive pneumococcal diseases legally notifiable. Invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPDs) are primarily the clinical presentations of meningitis, sepsis, and pneumonia/bacteremia.

    Pneumococcal infections occur in all seasons, but show a seasonal cluster in the winter months. Pneumococci are part of the normal microflora of the upper respiratory tract. Pneumococci are subdivided into more than 90 serotypes on the basis of the different polysaccharide capsules. The majority of diseases are caused by a few serotypes.

    Colonization of the nasopharynx with pneumococci usually occurs in infancy, usually during the first two years of life, and decreases with age. Pneumococci can be transmitted from person to person by droplets. Infections usually originate from the patient's own germ flora (endogenous) and are promoted by a lowered immune status. The WHO estimates that pneumococcal infections cause about 1.6 million deaths worldwide per year.

    Symptoms

    Pneumococcal infection can lead to localized or invasive disease. The most common clinical symptoms of pneumococcal infection are pneumonia (lobar and bronchopneumonia), bacteremia, and meningitis. In adults, pneumococcal pneumonia occurs predominantly. In addition, diseases such as joint inflammation (arthritis), heart valve inflammation (endocarditis) and peritonitis can occur. The most common non-invasive diseases are bronchitis, otitis media and sinusitis.

    Therapy, prevention

    Antibiotic treatment of pneumococcal infections should be adapted to the clinical picture of the disease. Currently, 3 vaccines are available in Austria: a 7-valent, a 10-valent and a 13-valent conjugate vaccine (PCV7, PCV10, PCV13) and a 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23). The Austrian Ministry of Health recommends immunisation of all children and adults from the age of 51. Detailed information on immunization in all age groups, booster vaccinations, indication and travel vaccinations is available in the Austrian Immunization Schedule. All vaccines currently licensed in Austria are published on the site of the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care.

    Diagnostic

    The presence of invasive pneumococcal disease is defined by the detection of S. pneumoniae in otherwise sterile body fluids (e.g., CSF, blood, joint, pleural, ascites, and peritoneal punctates).

    Contact, Forms

    National Reference Centre for Pneumococci

    Beethovenstraße 6
    8010 Graz
    Tel: +43 50 555-61263
    Mag. Claudia Mikula
    claudia.mikula@ages.at

    Downloads

      Nationale Referenzzentrale für Pneumokokken - Jahresbericht 2020 (449 K)
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      Nationale Referenzzentrale für Pneumokokken - Jahresbericht 2019 (503 K)
      download file

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