Pneumococcal Disease

Pneumococcal disease is the term used to describe a variety of conditions caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, including pneumonia, bacteraemia and meningitis.


This is a major pathogen and responsible for high rates of disease, death and permanent injury.  Pneumococcal disease can affect any age group but especially at risk are the very young and the elderly, those with compromised immune systems through illness or medical treatment or those with chronic illness.

Vaccination and antibiotics remain the main weapons agains pneumococcal disease.  Pneumococcal disease has traditionally been treated with penicillins.  However, treatment has become more difficult due to an increasing resistance to antibiotics.

Research continues with a view to identifying reasons for the prevalence of the disease and to identify new vaccines and therapies.  Advances in genetics offer opportunities for a better understanding of susceptibility in individuals, of pathogen attributes and of the potential for specifically targeted therapies.  However, to date, research in the field has tended to centre on virulence factors and host factors in isolation.

Further information can be found by visiting the following websites:

Health Protection Agency 

World Health Organisation

Welcome Trust Sanger Institute

Multi Locus Sequence Typing

Comprehensive Microbial Resource (J Craig Venter Institute)

There is a large amount of disease and death caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae.  Drug resistance is increasing in complexity and causing treatment difficulties.  With advances in both genetics and large-scale data gathering, the challenge for the scientific community is to better understand the multifactorial nature of pneumococcal virulence.  The Pneumopath consortium is well placed to meet this challenge.

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Contact Details

PNEUMOPATH Project Administrator

Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Leicester, Maurice Shock Building, University Road, Leicester LE1 9HN

T: +44(0)116 2523063




The Pneumopath project is a health-themed collaborative project within the Cooperation programme of FP7 and coordinated by the University of Leicester.

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