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Bacterial Infection Causes Minnesota Teen’s Death – Not Suspected Amoeba

Minneapolis, MN – WEBWIRE
EMSL Analytical, Inc.’s North America Locations
EMSL Analytical, Inc.’s North America Locations

This summer, the nation’s media reported about the death of a Minnesota teen who was suspected of having primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), caused by a brain-eating amoeba. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last month that the teen actually succumbed to bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, sometimes referred to as pneumococcus, can cause many types of illnesses known as pneumococcal disease. Some of them, such as meningitis, can be life-threatening. Pneumococcus is also one of the most common causes of severe pneumonia. In addition to causing pneumonia and meningitis, pneumococcus can cause other types of infections, including ear and sinus infections, and bacteremia.

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people are at greater risk for disease than others. Children at increased risk for pneumococcal disease include those:

  • Younger than 2 years old
  • In group child care
  • Who have certain illnesses
  • With cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks

Adults 65 years or older are also considered to be at increased risk for pneumococcal disease. In addition, some younger adults are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease, including those:

  • With chronic illnesses
  • With conditions that weaken the immune system
  • Living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • With cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks
  • Who smoke cigarettes

“The CDC reports that pneumococcal bacteria are spread by direct contact with respiratory secretions, including saliva and mucus,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Many people, especially children, have the bacteria in their nose or throat at one time or another without being ill. These people can still spread pneumococcal disease. EMSL helps to stop the spread of this pathogen by offering surface testing for Streptococcus pneumoniae and other microorganisms. Surface testing is also useful for determining the effectiveness of disinfection procedures in high risk environments such as child care and long-term care facilities.”

EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about pneumococcal disease and Streptococcus pneumoniae that can be seen at:

To learn more about this or other environmental, occupational, health and safety testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 

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 Streptococcus pneumoniae
 pneumococcal disease
 bacterial infections
 bacteria testing services

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