Causes Of Pneumococcal Infections
There are more than 90 different strains of S. pneumoniae, and some are much more likely to cause serious infection than others.
Some strains can be easily killed by the immune system, while others are resistant and likely to cause a more serious infection.
It’s thought that between 8 and 10 strains are responsible for two-thirds of serious infections in adults, and most cases in children.
Risk Of Pneumococcal Disease
Certain groups are at increased risk of infection, including:
- children aged under two years
- children under five years with underlying medical conditions predisposing them to invasive pneumococcal disease
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, especially in central Australia
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- people aged 65 years and over
- people with weakened immune systems
- people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer or kidney disease
- people who have impaired spleen function or have had their spleen removed
- people who smoke tobacco.
How Is Mycoplasma Spread
Mycoplasma is spread through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of infected people especially when they cough and sneeze. Transmission is thought to require prolonged close contact with an infected person. Spread in families, schools and institutions occurs slowly. The contagious period is probably fewer than 10 days and occasionally longer.
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How Can You Tell If You Have A Pneumococcal Infection
The symptoms of a pneumococcal infection depend on what part of the body is affected. The diagnosis is made by finding pneumococcus in blood, the infected fluid or tissue.
- Meningitis is a serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
- Symptoms include high fever, and loss of appetite, stiff neck, headache, vomiting, fussiness , and difficulty waking up .
- Meningitis can cause seizures, deafness or brain damage.
- Without treatment, all children who get this disease will die.
- Bacteremia is caused when bacteria get into the blood.
- Symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, fussiness, and loss of appetite.
- If the bacteria multiply rapidly, they may cause shock and damage to many parts of the body.
- Infection may spread from the blood to bone or joints.
- People with pneumonia have trouble breathing.
- Children who get pneumonia from the pneumococcal germ get ill very quickly.
- They will have a fever, a cough, chest pain and may bring up thick yellow or green mucous.
- Many different germs can cause ear infections. Pneumococcus is the most common cause.
- Middle ear infections usually start a few days after the start of a cold.
- They cause ear pain, lack of energy, fussiness, waking up at night, and a lack of appetite. Some children get a fever.
Each of these infections can also be caused by other germs. The pneumococcal vaccine will not protect your child from infections that are caused by another germ.
What Are The Causes Of Pneumonia
Pneumonia is commonly caused by an infection with a germ. The germ is usually a bacterium or a virus. There are three or four different bacteria that are the most common causes of pneumonia. There is also a well-known group of bacteria that causes pneumonia in about 3 out of 10 cases. They are called atypicals. Other germs such as fungi, yeasts, or protozoa can sometimes also cause pneumonia.
Rarely, non-infective pneumonia is caused by inhaling poisons or chemicals. Many different substances can cause this. They can be in the form of liquids, gases, small particles, dust or fumes.
You may breathe in some bacteria, viruses, or other germs. If you are normally healthy, a small number of germs usually doesnt matter. They will be trapped in your phlegm and killed by your immune system. Sometimes the germs multiply and cause lung infections. This is more likely to happen if you are already in poor health for example:
- If you are frail or elderly.
- If you have a chest disease.
- If you have a low immunity to infection. Low immunity can be caused by such things as alcohol dependence, AIDS, or another serious illness.
However, even healthy people sometimes develop pneumonia.
Pneumonia can sometimes develop after an operation, particularly in the region of your head or neck. Having an anaesthetic can increase the risk.
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Significance In Technology And Industry
Bacteria, often lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species and Lactococcus species, in combination with yeasts and moulds, have been used for thousands of years in the preparation of fermented foods, such as cheese, pickles, soy sauce, sauerkraut, vinegar, wine and yogurt.
The ability of bacteria to degrade a variety of organic compounds is remarkable and has been used in waste processing and bioremediation. Bacteria capable of digesting the hydrocarbons in petroleum are often used to clean up oil spills. Fertiliser was added to some of the beaches in Prince William Sound in an attempt to promote the growth of these naturally occurring bacteria after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. These efforts were effective on beaches that were not too thickly covered in oil. Bacteria are also used for the bioremediation of industrial toxic wastes. In the chemical industry, bacteria are most important in the production of enantiomerically pure chemicals for use as pharmaceuticals or agrichemicals.
Bacteria can also be used in the place of pesticides in the biological pest control. This commonly involves Bacillus thuringiensis , a Gram-positive, soil dwelling bacterium. Subspecies of this bacteria are used as a Lepidopteran-specific insecticides under trade names such as Dipel and Thuricide. Because of their specificity, these pesticides are regarded as environmentally friendly, with little or no effect on humans, wildlife, pollinators and most other beneficial insects.
Who Should Not Have The Vaccine
Anybody who has had a severe allergic reaction to PPSV23, PCV13, or PCV7, which is an older version of the conjugated vaccine, from one dose should not have another one. Severe allergic reactions are rare, however.
People who are severely or moderately ill with another infection should receive the vaccine when their condition improves.
The vaccines cannot cause pneumococcal disease as they are composed of bacterial capsule components.
The treatment will depend on how the bacteria affect the individual.
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Pleural Effusions Empyema And Pleurisy
There are two layers of tissue surrounding your lungs called the pleura. One wraps around the outside of your lungs and the other lines the part of your chest where your lungs sit. They help your lungs move smoothly when you breathe.
If your pneumonia isn’t treated, the pleura can get swollen, creating a sharp pain when you breathe in. If you don’t treat the swelling, the area between the pleura may fill with fluid, which is called a pleural effusion.
If the fluid gets infected, it leads to a problem called empyema. Tell your doctor if you are having any of these symptoms:
- Hard time breathing
- You don’t want to breathe deeply because it hurts
For pleural effusions and empyema, your doctor may suggest a procedure that removes fluid from your body with a needle. Antibiotics are also an option to treat empyema.
How Do Pneumococcal Infections Spread
- The germs spread from the nose and throat through coughing and sneezing when other people are close by. They can also spread through saliva by kissing or sharing things like food, cups, water bottles, straws, toothbrushes, or a musical instrument with a mouthpiece.
- Children in child care settings are at greater risk of infection because they are more likely to share mouthed items, such as toys, with other children.
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Pneumococcal Disease Vaccine For Children
The risk of infection in young children, especially those under two years of age, can be substantially reduced with a vaccine called Prevenar 13. Under the National Immunisation Program Schedule, this vaccine is free for all infants at two, four and 12 months of age. Extra pneumococcal vaccine is given to children with certain medical risk factors at six months and four to five years of age.
Why Some Ear Respiratory Infections Become Chronic
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital
- Scientists have figured out how a bacterium that causes ear and respiratory illnesses is able to elude immune detection in the middle ear, likely contributing to chronic or recurrent infections in adults and children.
Scientists have figured out how a bacterium that causes ear and respiratory illnesses is able to elude immune detection in the middle ear, likely contributing to chronic or recurrent infections in adults and children. A team from The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital published the findings in a recent issue of PLOS Pathogens and has now received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further the work.
Led by Kevin M. Mason, PhD, and Sheryl S. Justice, PhD, principal investigators in the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, the effort is offering new information about nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae . Contrary to what its name suggests, NTHI does not cause the flu. It is, however, the culprit behind most childhood cases of otitis media, or chronic ear infections. NTHI also can cause sinusitis, pneumonia and a range of other upper and lower respiratory illnesses.
“Infections caused by NTHI are chronic and recurrent similar to other bacterial infections that are difficult to treat,” Dr. Justice says. “Findings from our studies help to explain reasons for that.”
Pneumococcal Disease Is Deadly
Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of serious illness and death among Australian children under two years of age and persons over 85 years of age. The rates are highest among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, especially in central Australia. Pneumococcal disease is also an important cause of pneumonia in adults 65 years of age or over. Older people are especially at risk of death from this disease. It is estimated to kill around one million people worldwide every year. While pneumococcal disease can occur at any time, infections seem to be more common during winter and spring. Young children, older people and people with impaired immune systems are among the most susceptible.
How Long Does An Ear Infection Last
In many cases, ear infections clear up in a couple of weeks without treatment. But some ear infections can last for months.
So why do some ear infections last longer than others? The reasons include your health, the location of the infection and whats causing the infection. Inner ear infections tend to stick around longer than infections of the middle or outer ear. And infections caused by bacteria usually last longer than ones caused by viruses.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Cough that brings up bloody or rust-colored mucus
- Breathing symptoms that get worse
- Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or breathe in
- Fast or painful breathing
- Night sweats or unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath, shaking chills, or persistent fevers
- Signs of pneumonia and a weak immune system
- Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement
What Actually Is Sinus Infection
The word sinusitis simply points to the irritation of sinuses, a linked system of hollow air-filled cavities in the skull such as:
Another thing you need to know, not all cases of sinusitis are the same! For example, the infection can be triggered by virus or bacteria.
The sinuses produce mucus that drains into the nose. The infection can lead to the obstruction in the small channels that drain mucus to the nose, causing the following symptoms:
The only way to clearly figure out whether you have sinus infection or just a common cold is by swabbing inside your nose to look for any inflammation. But specific tests are often not required to diagnose this infection, because it is usually a mild problem and will relieve on its own.
The same goes for the treatment. It is not always necessary to treat the infection.
In general, its recommended to wait a few days before seeking the treatment. Sinus infection often improves itself in that period of time with lifestyle measures .
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How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:
- Any recent travel
- Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
- Whether you have recently had another illness
Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.
If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:
- Blood tests to confirm the infection and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
- Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
- Sputum test on a sample of mucus taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.
Pneumococcal Vaccine For Adults
Adults can have the pneumococcal vaccine or “pneumo jab” for free if they’re in a high-risk group for developing a pneumococcal infection.
If you think you could be eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, speak to your GP or practice nurse to arrange an appointment.
Healthy adults usually only need one dose of the pneumo jab. However, if you’ve a weakened immune system or spleen disorder, you may need additional booster doses. Your GP can advise you about this.
After you’ve had the pneumo jab, you may experience some pain and inflammation at the site of the injection. This should last no longer than three days. Less commonly, some people report the symptoms of a mild fever. Again, this should pass quickly.
Read more about potential side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine.
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Haemophilus Influenzae And Moraxella Catarrhalis Vaccine
Two other common bacteria that cause ear and sinus infections are nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. Recently, the National Institutes of Health has issued a license for the first clinical trials for a nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae vaccine. Vaccines to prevent viral infections like the flu that can eventually lead to ear infections should be considered for children with recurring ear infections. These vaccines are usually administered in the fall.
What Should I Do About An Ear Infection
If its only been a couple of days and the only symptom has been ear pain, you dont need to head to the doctor right away. Because many ear infections go away on their own, its likely your doctor will want to wait and see how the symptoms improve before providing prescription medicines.
In the meantime, focus on getting lots of rest. Sleeping strengthens the immune system and helps the body fight off infections and other sickness.
If the ear infection is causing pain or discomfort, there are treatments for ear infections you can try at home. One of the simplest is using a warm compress to dull the pain. Just soak a washcloth in warm water, wring out the excess water and then hold it against the infected ear for up to 20 minutes. If it helps, reapply the compress throughout the day.
If your child is over 3 months old, an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen can also help with the pain just make sure youre using an age-appropriate dose. If you have questions, contact your doctor or nurse line.
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Immediate Action Required: Go To A& e Or Phone 999 If:
- you have a blotchy, red rash that does not fade or change colour when you place a glass against it
- you experience drowsiness or confusion
- you have a seizure or fit
- you have an inability to tolerate bright lights known as photophobia
- you have a stiff neck
- you have a rapid breathing rate
- your baby becomes floppy and unresponsive or stiff with jerky movements
- your baby is becoming irritable and not wanting to be held
- your baby is crying unusually
You should dial 999 immediately and request an ambulance if you think you or someone around you has bacterial meningitis.
What Should I Or My Family Members Do If We Travel Out Of The Country
- Pneumococcal disease occurs around the world. It is more common in developing countries. You may be at higher risk if you spend time in crowded settings or come in close contact with children in countries where pneumococcal vaccine is not routinely used. Make sure that you are vaccinated according to the recommendations above.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Also, avoid close contact and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
Travel and pneumococcal disease:
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