Streptococcus Pneumonia Bacteria
Pneumococcus, also referred to as streptococcus pneumonia, is a spherical, gram-positive bacterium that is a leading cause of respiratory infections globally. Because it is a facultative anaerobic bacterium, oxygen is not necessary for its growth. In healthy individuals, pneumococcus is frequently seen in the nasopharynx, which is the upper portion of the back of the throat behind the nose. But it can also result in a number of illnesses, such as meningitis, pneumonia, and bacteremia.
Morphology and Characteristics
Pneumococcus is a type of bacteria that resembles a lancet and has a diameter of 0.2 to 1.0 μm. It usually occurs in pairs or short chains. It does not produce spores and is non-motile, which means it cannot move on its own. Because pneumococcus is gram-positive, the Gramme stain method does not remove its purple or blue hue. This is because its cell wall has a substantial coating of peptidoglycan.
Virulence and Pathogenesis
Pneumococcus is able to cause infections due to a number of virulence factors. These elements consist of:
❍Capsule: Pneumococcus is shielded from the immune system by a polysaccharide coating called a capsule. Pneumococcus is classified into approximately 90 distinct serotypes based on the structure of its capsule.
❍Pneumolysin: Toxin pneumolysin aids in the breakdown of lung tissue by pneumococcus and its dissemination to other areas of the body.
❍Neuraminidase: The mucus that coats the inside of the airways is broken down by pneumococcus with the aid of the enzyme neuraminidase. Pneumococcus can now pass more easily through the respiratory system as a result.
❍Teichoic acids: Pneumococcus has chemicals on its surface called teichoic acids that aid in its ability to attach to host cells.
Depending on the portion of the body affected, pneumococcus can cause a wide range of diseases. The most prevalent illnesses brought on by pneumococcus are:
©Pneumonia: Lung infection is known as pneumonia. It is the most prevalent kind of pneumococcal infection and the main cause of mortality for both adults and children. Pneumonia symptoms include fever, coughing, dyspnea, chest discomfort, and expectoration.
©Meningitis: An infection of the meninges, the membranes encircling the brain and spinal cord, is known as meningitis. Meningitis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headaches, stiff necks, and fever.
©Bacteremia: An infection of the bloodstream is bacteremia. It is a potentially fatal pneumococcal infection consequence that can result in sepsis. Bacteremia is characterised by fever, chills, and an accelerated heartbeat.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Pneumococcal infection diagnosis is often made in accordance with laboratory results and clinical symptoms. The following laboratory examinations can be used to identify pneumococcal infection:
•Blood culture: Pneumococcus in the bloodstream can be found with a blood culture test.
•Sputum culture: Pneumococcus can be found in sputum, the sticky material that is coughed up from the lungs, using a test called a sputum culture.
•Chest X-ray: Pneumonia symptoms, such as lung fluid and inflammation, can be seen on a chest X-ray.
Antibiotics are used to treat pneumococcal infections. The type of infection, the patient's age, and their medical history will all influence which specific antibiotic is prescribed. Hospitalisation may be required in certain situations.
Vaccination can help prevent pneumococcal infection. Two kinds of pneumococcal vaccinations are available:
✦Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13): Thirteen pneumococcus strains are protected against by PCV13. All adults and children 65 years of age and older are advised to use it.
✦Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23): Protects against 23 different pneumococcus strains: PPSV23. Adults 65 years of age and older with specific medical disorders, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or chronic heart disease, are advised to take it.
Worldwide, respiratory infections are primarily caused by Streptococcus pneumonia. It is an adaptable bacteria that can cause a wide range of illnesses, from minor to fatal. Thankfully, vaccinations can prevent pneumococcal illness and medications can treat it.