The bacterium S. pneumoniae is responsible for more than 5 million pneumococcal infections in the United States each year, including ear infections, pneumonia, meningitis and bloodstream infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While ear infections are generally mild, pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections can all be life-threatening. According to the CDC, as many as three in 10 people who contract pneumococcal meningitis will die, as will two out of L0 who contract pneumococcal bacteremia (blood infection), as will one out of every 20 who have pneumococcal pneumonia. The bacterium is becoming increasingly resistant to available antibiotics.

Want to Keep Reading?

Continue reading with a Health Confidential membership.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in