​Pneumococcal Infection and Invasive Disease

  • Caused by bacteria (a type of germ) called Streptococcus pneumoniae.  Sometimes this germ can live in the nose and throat without making you sick.  It can also cause a number of infections and sometimes more serious diseases.
  • There are many places in the body that this germ can cause infection. Common infections along with the symptoms are shown below.

Signs and Symptoms

Pneumococcal infections

  • Ear infection: pain in the ear, trouble sleeping, fever, fussiness, lack of energy, lack of appetite
  • Lung infection (pneumonia): fever, cough, problems breathing, pain in chest that gets worse by breathing deeply
  • Lung infection in babies: fever, cough, rapid breathing or grunting

Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD)

  • Blood infection (bacteremia): fever, stiff neck, headache, vomiting, loss of appetite, joint pain, chills
  • Blood infection in babies: fever, fussiness
  • Brain and spinal cord infection (meningitis) in older children and adults: stiff neck, fever, confusion and disorientation, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, feeling tired, headache
  • Brain and spinal cord infection in babies: fever, sleepiness, stiff neck (may be hard to tell), less activity, fussiness, vomiting, difficulty feeding


Anyone can get a Pneumococcal infection.  People at highest risk are those who are over 65 years of age, children younger than 2 years of age, and people with certain medical conditions.


You can be treated with antibiotics.  If the infection is not treated; it can lead to more serious disease, hospitalization and even death.  If you or anyone in your family develops symptoms of IPD contact your health care provider right away.


The germs are spread from an infected person to another person by close, direct contact such as kissing, coughing and sneezing.  It can also spread by sharing drinks, toothbrushes, toys and other objects that go in the mouth.  Healthy people who have the germ in their nose or throat can also spread it to others.


  • Wash your hands often
  • Cough into your elbow or sleeve
  • Don’t share objects that go in your mouth
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Talk to your health care provider to find out if Pneumococcal vaccine is right for you

Vaccine Safety

  • The vaccine is very safe
  • The vaccine will not give you the infection
  • Common side effects are: redness, swelling, and warmth at the place where the needle went into the arm or leg
  • Serious reactions to the vaccine are rare (i.e. hives, swelling of the mouth or throat, or trouble breathing)

Invasive Pneumococcal Disease is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Local Medical Officer of Health under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.