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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Mar;18(3):300-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03603.x. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Viruses and bacteria in sputum samples of children with community-acquired pneumonia.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.


Few comprehensive studies have searched for viruses and bacteria in children with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). We identified 76 children hospitalized for pneumonia. Induced sputum samples were analysed for 18 viruses by antigen detection and PCR, and for six bacteria by culture and PCR. Viruses were found in 72% of samples, bacteria in 91%, and both in 66%. Rhinovirus (30%), human bocavirus (18%) and human metapneumovirus (14%) were the most commonly detected viruses. Two viruses were found in 22% of samples and three in 8%. The most common bacteria found were Streptococcus pneumoniae (50%), Haemophilus influenzae (38%), and Moraxella catarrhalis (28%). Rhinovirus-S. pneumoniae was the most commonly found combination of virus and bacterium (16%). All six children with treatment failure had both viruses and bacteria detected in the sputum. Otherwise, we found no special clinical characteristics in those with mixed viral-bacterial detections. With modern molecular diagnostic techniques, there are high rates of both viral and bacterial identification in childhood CAP. The clinical significance of mixed viral-bacterial infections remains unclear, although we found a potential association between them and treatment failure.

© 2011 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2011 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

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