DPH: Penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (PRSP)

Penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (PRSP)


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Streptococcus pneumoniae, also called pneumococcus, is a type of bacteria that is found in the noses and throats of healthy children and adults without causing any harm. Pneumococcus occurs most often in young children, the elderly, or in people who have an existing severe illness or other health conditions such as chronic lung, heart, or kidney disease. Others at risk include persons addicted to alcohol, persons with diabetes, persons with weakened immune systems, and those without a spleen. 


Pneumococcus bacteria may cause pneumonia, meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain), or a bloodstream infection. The primary way to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcus is to get a shot called the “pneumococcal vaccine”.


{Streptococcus pneumoniae / Photo credit: CDC, Janice Haney Carr} Once a person develops infection, some form of the antibiotic penicillin will be given. There are a growing number of pneumococcus bacteria that cannot be killed by penicillin. This is called penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae or PRSP. This means that patients infected with the penicillin-resistant bacteria will need to be treated with other, more expensive antibiotics.


For more information on PRSP, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drug-resistant S. pneumoniae in Healthcare Settings website.

Content Last Modified on 6/11/2009 11:30:16 AM