Streptococcus Pneumoniae

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Aerotolerant (oxygen-tolerant), anaerobic, Gram positive diplococci, lancet-shaped, occur in pairs, or short, tight chains

Growth Conditions

Can be placed in various growth media and incubated at 37°C. Ex: TSA supplemented with 5% sheep’s blood

Health Hazards

Host Range

Humans, mice, rats guinea pigs, chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, mammals that live in association with humans

Modes of Transmission

Direct contact with aerosol droplets. Direct oral and mucous membrane contact. Indirectly through articles freshly soiled with respiratory discharges.

Signs and Symptoms

Shaking chills, chest pain, dyspnea, fever, productive cough, and sinusitis; Can cause middle ear infections. Can progress to pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis

Infectious Dose

Unknown for humans

Incubation Period

Generally 1-3 days

Medical Precautions/Treatment




Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23). Vaccination is recommended for all children under 5 years of age, all adults over 65 years of age, and high risk individuals of any age, including individuals with underlying medical conditions such as HIV or sickle cell disease.


Variable susceptibility to: penicillin, tetracycline, cefotaxime, levofloxacin, erythromycin, and fluoroquinolones, moxifloxacin and gatifloxacin, telithromycin, vancomycin, linezolid


Monitor for symptoms of infection

Emory Requirements

Report all exposures

Laboratory Hazards

Laboratory Acquired Infections (LAIs)

78 documented cases since 1999.


Sputum, blood, respiratory secretions, throat swabs, parenteral inoculation

Supplemental References

Canadian MSDS

Pathogen Safety Data Sheets


Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 

CDC Guidelines

Travelers Health - Pneumococcal Disease 



For all activities involving known or potentially infected cultures


For all procedures utilizing infected animals

Spill Procedures


Notify others working in the lab. Allow aerosols to settle. Don appropriate PPE. Cover area of the spill with paper towels and apply an EPA registered disinfectant, working from the perimeter towards the center. Allow 30 minutes of contact time before disposal and cleanup of spill materials.


Contact Emory’s Biosafety Officer (404-727-8863),
the EHSO Office (404-727-5922), or
The Spill Response Team (404-727-2888).

Exposure Procedures

Mucous membrane

Flush eyes, mouth or nose for 15 minutes at eyewash station.

Other Exposures

Wash area with soap and water for 15 minutes.


Immediately report incident to supervisor, complete an employee incident report in PeopleSoft.

Medical Followup 

7am-4pm (OIM): EUH (404-686-7941) EUHM (404-686-7106) WW (404-728-6431)

After Hours: OIM NP On Call 404-686-5500 PIC# 50464

Needle Stick (OIM): EUH (404-686-8587) EUHM (404-686-2352)

Yerkes: Maureen Thompson Office (404-727-8012) Cell (404-275-0963)



1% sodium hypochlorite, 70% ethanol, 2% glutaraldehyde,


Sensitive to moist and dry heat.

Moist Heat (121°C for at least 15 mins).

Dry Heat (160-170°C for at least 1 hour).

Survival Outside Host

Mouse carcass – 180 to 270 days; Sputum (Room Temp) - 7 days; Gauze – 2 to 15 days

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Minimum PPE Requirements

At minimum, personnel are required to don gloves, closed toed shoes, lab coat, and appropriate face and eye protection prior to working with S. pneumoniae. Additional PPE may be required depending on lab specific SOPs.

Additional Precautions

All procedures that may produce aerosols, or involve high concentrations or large volumes should be conducted in a biological safety cabinet (BSC).