Streptocaccus Pneumoniae

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Streptococcus pneumoniae, can also known as Pneumococci, is a Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic bacterium that commonly causes pneumonia, an illness that affects the lower respiratory tract that causes symptoms such as sharp chest pain, excessive sweating and fever. The bacterium was first isolated in 1881 by Louis Pasteur and George Sternburg.4 Penicillin is used as a common antibiotic that is used to destroy this bacterium. However, in 1967, a strain of penicillin resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae was first reported in Australia by researchers.1 The ability to adapt and evolve into different serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae is thought to have contributed to the outbreak of the influenza strain, H1N1 in 2009.2 Streptococcus pneumoniae is classified under Group B Streptococci. This bacterium was classified in such a manner as there are several different types of Streptococci that cause different diseases and infections. For example, Streptococcus pyogenes is classified in Group A Streptococci, and this disease may cause impetigo or strep throat. The shape of Streptococcus pneumoniae is unique. It is often described as “lancet-shaped”; oval in shape and pointed at the ends.3 This bacterium are often arranged in pairs, known as diplococci, or in short chains. There are more than eighty five antigenically distinct polysaccharide capsules determined thus far.3 The different types of capsules are known as serotypes.3 The majority of known serotypes can cause serious diseases and infections. However, only a small fraction of these serotypes cause the most common infections found within a community such as pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae are non-motile, therefore no flagella are present on the bacterium. However, there are... ... middle of paper ... ...as its genetic material slowly leaks out of the incomplete cell wall. However, in 1967, it has been reported that a strain of Streptococcus pneumonia has become resistant to the effects of penicillin.1 This is caused by the bacterium’s ability to mutate. The mutations caused the bacterium to change the location of the binding sites for synthesis of the cell wall. As the binding site locations have changed, the old penicillin binding sites can not bind to the receptor sites of the newly revolved bacterium. Vaccines are available to prevent infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. This vaccine is known as: pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. The vaccine contains antibodies of several serotypes of this bacterium as well as 0.25% of phenol which is used as a preservative.5 This vaccine is usually injected into the body either subcutaneously or intramuscularly.

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