Streptococcus pneumonia (S pneumonia) strains resistant to penicillin (PRSP) is an infection caused by a particular strain (type) of bacteria (Streptococcus) that is resistant to penicillin. S pneumonia bacteria cause respiratory tract illnesses such as pneumonia (lung infection), bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections (otitis media) and in more serious cases can also cause infections involving the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) as well as the bloodstream (septicemia). S pneumonia is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children and the elderly. The pneumococcal vaccine can prevent infection and is recommended children under 5 and adults over 65 as well as at risk individuals.
S pneumonia is spread by coughing, sneezing, and close contact with an affected person. Symptoms are dependent upon what part of the body is infected but can include fever, cough, chest pain, confusion, stiff neck, irritability and in the most severe cases, without treatment, hearing loss and brain damage. Those at higher risk include children and elderly especially those in crowded conditions (childcare facilities, nursing homes). Others at higher risk include those who travel to developing countries especially those without the vaccine and persons with weakened immune systems like those with diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS or other long-term illnesses.
Prevention includes frequent hand-washing with soap or sanitizer, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and covering your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Diagnosis is confirmed with a culture or sample from affected person, usually from the nose or throat, but can also be obtained from the blood or spinal fluid. S pneumonia that is resistant to penicillin must be treated with antibiotics other than penicillin. In more serious cases, other measures may need to be taken. If you think you may have or been exposed to PRSP, please see you doctor.