1887

Abstract

The principal virulence factor of is capsular polysaccharide, and encapsulated pneumococci are more common causes of disease than unencapsulated strains. This study analysed the presence of capsular genes in 59 pneumococcal isolates using two PCR methods targeted at the and genes of the capsular biosynthesis locus. The PCR method targeted at the gene, reported to be essential for encapsulation, was developed in this study. Of 59 pneumococcal isolates, 49 (83 %) were obtained from the sputum samples of elderly patients (≥65 years) with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and 10 (17 %) were from those with other acute lower respiratory tract infections (ARIs). Forty (82 %) of the CAP isolates and two (20 %) of the ARI isolates were encapsulated, as assessed by conventional immunochemical methods. Forty-one (98 %) of the 42 encapsulated strains had the gene present, and in 38 strains the gene was also detected. One of the unencapsulated isolates gave a positive result for the gene, and neither of the capsular locus genes were present in all the other unencapsulated strains. The distribution of encapsulated and unencapsulated isolates differed significantly between the two patient groups regardless of whether the presence of capsule was determined immunochemically (<0.001) or by PCR (=0.002). The PCR developed here was found to be a rapid and reliable method to detect the pneumococcal capsule locus and may have potential in sputum diagnostics when investigating the pneumococcal aetiology of CAP.

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2010-10-01
2019-10-14
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