1887

Abstract

The diagnosis of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is currently based on culture methods, which lack sensitivity, especially after antibiotic therapy. Molecular methods have improved sensitivity and do not require viable bacteria; however, their use is complicated by reports of low specificity with some assays. The present study investigated the specificity of a real-time PCR targeting for the detection of IPD. A group of 147 healthy children, aged 6 months to 16 years (mean 6.4 years, median 4.9 years, interquartile range 6.4 years), who were in hospital for routine examinations, were tested for pneumococcal carrier status and for the presence of detectable pneumococcal DNA in their blood by real-time PCR targeting the pneumococcal gene. In addition, 35 culture-positive biological samples were analysed. Urine was examined for the presence of pneumococcal DNA and C-polysaccharide antigen. Carriage was detected in 77 of the 147 subjects (52.4 %); however, regardless of carrier status, none of the subjects had a positive result from blood. Analysis of the culture-positive biological samples yielded positive results in 100 % (15/15) of cerebrospinal fluid samples and 95 % (19/20) of blood samples. All urine samples from healthy carriers were negative for DNA, whilst antigenuria was detected in 44/77 carriers (57.1 %). In conclusion, real-time PCR is both sensitive and specific and can be a useful tool in the routine diagnosis of IPD. Its sensitivity, which surpasses that of other methods for this purpose, does not come at the cost of reduced specificity.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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2011-06-01
2021-10-18
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