Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium of which more than 90 subtypes are known.
Transmission via air-borne infection
As of late it has been observed that the number of penicillin-resistant bacteria is on the rise primarily in Spain and in Hungary.
Pneumococci can be made responsible for a number of diseases. Among others they can cause:
The disease generally occurs only if the immune system is weakened or in many cases also due to an immunosuppressive therapy.
Therapy consists of antibiotics. What is problematic is the increasing resistance of the antibiotics to pneumococci.
A prospective cohort trial in Canberra, Australia demonstrated that with every additional day of antibiotics the ratio for resistant pneumococci increased by 4%. The tendency of resistant pneumococci spreading could drop if fewer antibiotics were prescribed, is the conclusion the authors drew from this trial. (D. Nasrin et al.: "Effect of beta lactam antibiotic use in children on pneumococcal resistance to penicillin: prospective cohort study" BMJ 2002;324:28)
Surviving the disease only gives the person immunity against a certain serotype and not against the whole range of bacteria.
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