- Meningitis info
- How we help
- About us
- Support us
- Please Donate
We fund counselling, wheelchairs, speech therapy, specialist equipment and more. But we can't without donations. Please help.
Pneumococcal meningitis is caused by a bacterium called the pneumococcus. There are over 90 strains (or serotypes), but only a small minority commonly cause disease. The pneumococcus can also cause other serious infections such as pneumonia, blood poisoning and septic arthritis, and less serious infections such as otitis media, glue ear and sinusitis. Together these are known as pneumococcal disease or pneumococcal infection.
When the pneumococcus invades, it can overcome the body’s defences and lead to infection. Most of the bacteria are transferred to the meninges via the bloodstream. When the bacteria infect the meninges, the blood vessels in the lining of the brain are damaged. This allows the bacteria to break through and infect the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The meninges then become inflamed and pressure around the brain can cause nerve damage.
Pneumococcal meningitis requires rapid admission to hospital and urgent treatment with antibiotics. If treated promptly, pneumococcal meningitis is less likely to become life threatening. For more information on this, visit our section on the treatment of meningitis.
Pneumococcal meningitis is reportable to public health, but is not considered to be contagious. Therefore, close contact with someone who has the illness poses no increased risk of infection. There is little chance of a second related case occurring.
There are vaccines available to help protect against pneumococcal meningitis.
You can download our pneumococcal meningitis fact sheet. Or, if you have a question, you can speak to experienced staff on our freephone helpline, available 24-hours a day: 0808 80 10 388, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will come back to you as soon as we can.
We are here to support anyone affected by meningitis. We have a range of free support services, available for life.
Our helpline is available 24/7 to offer advice and answer your meningitis questions.
You can now keep the Meningitis Trust signs and symptoms card on your iPhone. Life-saving information at your fingertips
Are you worried that you or someone may have meningitis?