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Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD)

What is invasive pneumococcal disease?

Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is a group of infections caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. It is considered invasive if it infects an area of the body that typically remains sterile. Examples include meningitis and bacteremia. 

What are the symptoms of invasive pneumococcal disease?

The symptoms of this disease vary depending on which infection one has. For example, bacteremia results in non-specific symptoms like fever, fatigue, and irritability. 

Pneumonia caused by this bacteria results in fever, chills, chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, issues with breathing, weakness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a rapid heart rate. 

Meningitis sees symptoms like lethargy, headaches, fever, vomiting, irritability, seizures, coma, stiffness in the neck, and cranial nerve signs (hearing loss, paralysis, etc.). 

What causes invasive pneumococcal disease?

The bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae causes IPDs. It spreads from person to person through respiratory secretions, such as mucus or saliva. It can also be transmitted through autoinoculation. 

There are also risk factors for IPDs, such as being under age two, wearing cochlear implants, having a certain illness like sickle cell disease or a chronic illness, having a cerebrospinal fluid leak, being older than 65, and smoking cigarettes. 

How is invasive pneumococcal disease diagnosed?

Doctors will diagnose this disease after isolating the bacteria in a sample of bodily fluid, often blood, urine, or cerebrospinal fluid. It is important to know the correct IPD that one has, and it is best to catch it early. 

What are the treatments for invasive pneumococcal disease?

Different forms of IPDs are treated in different manners, but the major goal is to rid the body of bacteria. It is resistant to a number of antibiotics, but research has shown that higher doses of penicillin and broad-spectrum antibiotics are viable treatment options. 

Prevention is also possible, as there are vaccines for IPDs. While these do not protect against every form of IPD, they significantly reduce the risk. 

Where can I find out more about invasive pneumococcal disease?

IPD Articles