Rapid diagnosis of pneumonia in children

Kenneth Bromberg, Margaret R. Hammerschlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Antigen detection techniques are available for the indentification of bacterial polysaccharides, viruses, and chlamydia. Viruses and chlamydia are detected by direct immunofluorescence (DFA) or enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Bacterial polysaccharides are detected by latex agglutination or staphylococcal coagglutination of serum or concentrated urine. Most studies have not compared these techniques to the gold standard of lung puncture, so the role of dual infections with bacteria and viruses cannot be adequately determined. The sensitivity of any of these techniques is dependent on the quality of the antisera used. Monoclonal sera are now available for the detection of most viruses and seem to be as sensitive as polyclonal sera. DFA or EIA may offer equal sensitivity but their advantages and disadvantages must be considered by the local diagnostic laboratories. Most DFA and EIA systems have a sensitivity of 90% when compared with viral cultural for the identification of the organism. Agglutination reagents are available commercially for the detection of pneumococcal and Hemophilus influenzae type b polysaccharides. The sensitivity and specificity of each brand should be determined on serum or urine from patients known to have positive blood cultures and those free of disease. The brand chosen should be the one that has reasonable sensitivity and specificity. Rapid diagnostic techniques are helpful if they are used within a clinical context and they are positive. Negative tests do not rule out infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Respiratory Infections
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1987
Externally publishedYes


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