Pneumococci are transmitted by respiratory droplets (coughs and sneezes) and by direct contact with a person’s oral secretions (through sharing toys, cups, spoons, etc.). Commonsense hand-washing techniques can decrease the risk of transmitting or receiving the infection.
Unfortunately, pneumococci are common in the United States. There are thousands of severe infections in children and millions of milder infections as well. In addition, there are tens of thousands of severe infections in adults. Thus, it is extremely likely that your child will be exposed to this disease. In fact, there are several subtypes, called serotypes, of the bacteria, so your child will likely be repeatedly exposed.