Meningitis, Pneumococcal

  • An infection caused by a bacteria called pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae).
  • The bacteria are carried in the back of the throat, often without causing illness.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fever, drowsiness, irritability, severe headache, vomiting, stiff and painful neck


  • Pneumococcal bacteria are spread through contact with droplets from nose, eyes or mouth of an infected child.

A child may return to school after at least 24 hours of antibiotic treatment.


  • Pneumococcal meningitis can be treated with antibiotics, but they must be started as soon as possible to prevent complications


  • Serious complications can include brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities


  • A vaccine is available: Check your child’s immunization record to see if he/she has had Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PREVNAR™). Children born in Ontario on or after Jan 1, 2004 are able to receive this vaccine at no charge.
  • Teach your child to cover his/her mouth when coughing or sneezing and not to share food, drink or eating utensils with others.
  • Good hand washing by staff and children with soap and water after coughing, sneezing, wiping nose, changing a diaper or eating or preparing food is also very important.

The child may return to school after 24 hours of antibiotic therapy.

Meningitis is a reportable disease and must be reported to your local Medical Officer of Health under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.