Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). People with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze.
Pneumococcus bacteria can cause infections in many parts of the body, including
The lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
Symptoms of pneumococcal infection depend on the part of the body affected. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, or death. You can find a full list of symptoms for each part of the body that is affected on the symptoms and complications of pneumococcal disease page.
Who is at risk?
Information by Destination
Where are you going?
Pneumococcal disease occurs around the world but is more common in low- and middle-income countries where fewer people get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease. In places with four seasons, pneumococcal disease is more common during winter and early spring. In tropical climates with dry and rainy seasons, pneumococcal disease tends to occur more in the dry season.
What can travelers do to prevent pneumococcal disease?
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal vaccines are routinely recommended in the United States.
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