A monospecific polyclonal antiserum, prepared against common polysaccharide antigen purified by polyacrylamide gel immunoblot detected and in pus samples from various anatomical sites by immunofluorescence microscopy of the pus. With standard clinical laboratory culture methods, 36% of 147 samples were positive for one or more of the above bacteria. Of these, accounted for 33%. By immunofluorescent labelling of pus with the common antigen antiserum the detection of these bacteria in the samples increased to 50%. All nine of the blood cultures in which was detected by culture contained bacteria positive for the common antigen. Immunofluorescent labelling of pus samples with a selection of monoclonal antibodies specific for surface polysaccharides which are known to be antigenically variable in culture and in an animal model of infection showed that these polysaccharides are also variable in natural infection. The results indicate that the common polysaccharide antigen, in contrast to the variable surface polysaccharides, is a suitable target for the immunodetection of in clinical samples from a range of anatomical sites.


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