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Br Med Bull. 2002;61:175-88.

Pneumocystis carinii.

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Molecular Infectious Diseases Group, Department of Paediatrics, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK.


Pneumocystis carinii is an atypical fungus that causes pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals. P. carinii comprises a heterogeneous group of organisms that have been isolated from a wide range of mammalian host species. P. carinii infection is host species specific, the P. carinii organisms that infect humans have only been found in humans. This review discusses the application of molecular techniques to the study of the biology and epidemiology of P. carinii infection. It addresses the use of DNA amplification for the detection and diagnosis of P. carinii pneumonia. Studies investigating the reservoir of infectious P. carinii organisms, the routes of transmission of the infection, and the emergence of drug resistant strains of P. carinii are also discussed.

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