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J Pediatr. 2002 Mar;140(3):367-9.

Identification of Pneumocystis carinii DNA by polymerase chain reaction in necropsy lung samples from children dying of respiratory tract illnesses.

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UNZA-UCLMS (University of Zambia-University College London Medical School) Tuberculosis/HIV Research and Training Project, the JICA Infectious Diseases Project, Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia.


Polymerase chain reaction for Pneumocystis carinii DNA was performed on necropsy lung samples from children by means of P carinii -specific primers.P carinii DNA was identified in 22 of 22 (100%) samples with histologically proven P carinii pneumonia and 13 of 75 (17%) with non-P carinii pneumonia respiratory illness (sensitivity, 100%; specificity, 83%). The low specificity precludes the use of polymerase chain reaction as an alternative to histopathologic diagnosis.

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