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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e60520. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060520. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Superiority of trans-oral over trans-nasal sampling in detecting Streptococcus pneumoniae colonization in adults.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Wilhelmina's Children Hospital, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. K.Trzcinski@umcutrecht.nl

Abstract

The human nasopharynx is the main reservoir for Streptococcus pneumoniae. We applied conventional and molecular methods to determine the prevalence of S. pneumoniae nasopharyngeal colonization in adults. Paired trans-orally and trans-nasally obtained nasopharyngeal samples from 268 parents of 24-month-old children were assessed for pneumococcal presence. Parents were classified as colonized when live pneumococci were recovered from either sample cultured on medium selective for S. pneumoniae. Of the 52 (19%) colonized parents 49 (18%) were culture-positive in trans-nasal and 10 (4%) in trans-oral samples. Bacterial growth was harvested from these cultures, DNA isolated and tested by quantitative-PCR (qPCR) targeting lytA and piaA genes specific for S. pneumoniae. A sample was considered positive if signals for both genes were detected. Altogether 105 (39%) individuals were classified as positive for pneumococcus by qPCR including 50 (19%) in trans-nasal and 94 (35%) in trans-oral settings. Although significantly more trans-nasal compared to trans-oral samples were culture-positive for S. pneumoniae at the primary diagnostic step (p<0.001) the opposite was observed in qPCR results (p<0.001). To confirm the presence of live pneumococcus in samples positive by qPCR but negative at the initial diagnostic step, we serially-diluted cell harvests, re-cultured and carefully examined for S. pneumoniae presence. Live pneumococci were recovered from an additional 43 parents including 42 positive in trans-oral and 4 in trans-nasal samples increasing the number of individuals culture- and qPCR-positive to 93 (35%) and positive by either of two methods to 107 (40%). There were significantly more trans-oral than trans-nasal samples positive for pneumococcus by both culture and qPCR (n = 71; 27%; vs. n = 50; 19%; p<0.05). Our data suggest that pneumococcal colonization is more common in adults than previously estimated and point towards the superiority of a trans-oral over a trans-nasal approach when testing adults for colonization with S. pneumoniae.

PMID:
23555985
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3610877
Free PMC Article

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