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Bull World Health Organ. 1996;74(4):387-90.

Serotyping of Streptococcus pneumoniae by agglutination assays: a cost-effective technique for developing countries.

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Department of Microbiology and Virology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India.


There is a need for additional data on the distribution of pneumococcal serotypes in developing countries. We report the use of a coagglutination (COA) and a latex agglutination (LA) test for serotyping Streptococcus pneumoniae which were evaluated using 114 clinical isolates in Vellore, India. In tests to serotype 30 fresh isolates of pneumococci from meningitis (8 isolates), bacteraemia/septicaemia (21 isolates) and peritonitis (1 isolate) cases, there was complete concordance among the three methods. An additional 20 isolates (11 from cerebrospinal fluid and 9 from blood cultures) were serotyped using both LA and COA, with full agreement between the results. With a further 30 isolates, there was 93% concordance for the COA types with serotypes assigned by a WHO reference laboratory. The COA and LA serotyping results were equivalent in accuracy to those obtained using quellung serotyping. Both these agglutination tests are rapid, valid, and relatively cheap, and with appropriate validation by reference laboratories they could be more widely used in developing countries to obtain local and regional data on pneumococcal serotype distribution.

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