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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Oct;43(10):4972-6.

Diagnosis of invasive pneumococcal infection by serotype-specific urinary antigen detection.

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  • 1Health Protection Agency South West Regional Laboratory, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol BS2 8HW, United Kingdom.


Widespread use of conjugate pneumococcal polysaccharide-protein vaccines may alter the spectrum of pneumococci producing invasive disease. Novel sensitive diagnostic methods would be valuable for monitoring the epidemiology of pneumococcal disease within populations and vaccine recipients. Ideally, these methods should allow determination of the serotype of the infecting clone. Serotype-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for 13 capsular polysaccharides (types 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7A, 9 V, 14, 18C, 19 A, 19F, and 23 F) were developed. Experiments with pure capsular polysaccharide demonstrated that the assays were sensitive (0.01 to 1.0 ng/ml) and specific. These assays were used to detect capsular polysaccharide in urine from 263 adult patients with proven (blood culture-positive) invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia of unknown etiology and from patients with positive blood cultures yielding bacteria other than pneumococci (control group). Among 76 patients with invasive pneumococcal disease from whom blood culture isolates had been serotyped, 62 (82%) had infections with pneumococci of serotypes represented in the ELISA panel. Capsular antigen matching the serotype of the blood culture isolate was detected in the urine of 52 of these patients, giving a sensitivity of 83.9% for the target serotypes. The tests were significantly more sensitive for urine from patients with pneumococcal pneumonia (89.8%) than for urine from patients with non-pneumonic invasive infection (61.5%; P<0.05). Data from the control group indicated a specificity of 98.8%. These assays should prove valuable in epidemiological investigation of invasive pneumococcal infection in adults, particularly if combined with a sensitive C-polysaccharide detection assay to screen for positive samples.

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