may inhabit the upper respiratory tract of humans without causing harm but it also causes diseases with high morbidity and mortality. It has excellent adaptive capabilities thanks to its ability to shuffle its genetic content by acquiring and incorporating DNA from other bacteria and is highly competent for genetic transformation. Sugar sensing, cleavage and transport ensure its fitness and survival in the host, and intracellular survival in macrophages has been linked to virulence. The polysaccharide capsule and toxin pneumolysin are the most important virulence determinants. Polysaccharide-based vaccines provide protection against the serotypes represented in vaccine formulations.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.

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