Journal Article

Etiology of Community-Acquired Pneumonia: Increased Microbiological Yield with New Diagnostic Methods

Niclas Johansson, Mats Kalin, Annika Tiveljung-Lindell, Christian G. Giske and Jonas Hedlund

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 50, issue 2, pages 202-209
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/648678
Etiology of Community-Acquired Pneumonia: Increased Microbiological Yield with New Diagnostic Methods

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Background

The microbial etiology of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is still not well characterized. During the past few years, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods have been developed for many pathogens causing respiratory tract infections. The aim of this study was to determine the etiology of CAP among adults—especially the occurrence of mixed infections among patients with CAP—by implementing a new diagnostic PCR platform combined with conventional methods.

Methods

Adults admitted to Karolinska University Hospital were studied prospectively during a 12-month period. Microbiological testing methods included culture from blood, sputum, and nasopharyngeal secretion samples; sputum samples analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR for Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis; nasopharyngeal specimens analyzed by use of PCR; serological testing for Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and viruses common in the respiratory tract; and urine antigen assays for detection of pneumococcal and Legionella pneumophila antigens.

Results

A microbial etiology could be identified for 67% of the patients (n = 124). For patients with complete sampling, a microbiological agent was identified for 89% of the cases. The most frequently detected pathogens were S. pneumoniae (70 patients [38]) and respiratory virus (53 patients [29]). Two or more pathogens were present in 43 (35%) of 124 cases with a determined etiology.

Conclusions

By supplementing traditional diagnostic methods with new PCR-based methods, a high microbial yield was achieved. This was especially evident for patients with complete sampling. Mixed infections were frequent (most commonly S. pneumoniae together with a respiratory virus).

Journal Article.  5236 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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