Detection of Pneumococcal DNA in Blood by Polymerase Chain Reaction for Diagnosing Pneumococcal Pneumonia in Young Children From Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Morpeth, Susan C; Deloria Knoll, Maria; Scott, J Anthony G; Park, Daniel E; Watson, Nora L; Baggett, Henry C; Brooks, W Abdullah; Feikin, Daniel R; Hammitt, Laura L; Howie, Stephen R C; Kotloff, Karen L; Levine, Orin S; Madhi, Shabir A; O'Brien, Katherine L; Thea, Donald M; Adrian, Peter V; Ahmed, Dilruba; Antonio, Martin; Bunthi, Charatdao; DeLuca, Andrea N; Driscoll, Amanda J; Githua, Louis Peter; Higdon, Melissa M; Kahn, Geoff; Karani, Angela; Karron, Ruth A; Kwenda, Geoffrey; Makprasert, Sirirat; Mazumder, Razib; Moore, David P; Mwansa, James; Nyongesa, Sammy; Prosperi, Christine; Sow, Samba O; Tamboura, Boubou; Whistler, Toni; Zeger, Scott L; Murdoch, David R; PERCH Study Group
Clin Infect Dis
Date Published
2017 Jun 15
Child, Hospitalized; Child, Preschool; DNA, Bacterial; Female; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Internationality; Male; N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase; Pneumonia, Pneumococcal; Polymerase Chain Reaction; Poverty; Sensitivity and Specificity; Streptococcus pneumoniae

Background.: We investigated the performance of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on blood in the diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia among children from 7 low- and middle-income countries.

Methods.: We tested blood by PCR for the pneumococcal autolysin gene in children aged 1-59 months in the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study. Children had World Health Organization-defined severe or very severe pneumonia or were age-frequency-matched community controls. Additionally, we tested blood from general pediatric admissions in Kilifi, Kenya, a PERCH site. The proportion PCR-positive was compared among cases with microbiologically confirmed pneumococcal pneumonia (MCPP), cases without a confirmed bacterial infection (nonconfirmed), cases confirmed for nonpneumococcal bacteria, and controls.

Results.: In PERCH, 7.3% (n = 291/3995) of cases and 5.5% (n = 273/4987) of controls were blood pneumococcal PCR-positive (P < .001), compared with 64.3% (n = 36/56) of MCPP cases and 6.3% (n = 243/3832) of nonconfirmed cases (P < .001). Blood pneumococcal PCR positivity was higher in children from the 5 African countries (5.5%-11.5% among cases and 5.3%-10.2% among controls) than from the 2 Asian countries (1.3% and 1.0% among cases and 0.8% and 0.8% among controls). Among Kilifi general pediatric admissions, 3.9% (n = 274/6968) were PCR-positive, including 61.7% (n = 37/60) of those with positive blood cultures for pneumococcus.

Discussion.: The utility of pneumococcal PCR on blood for diagnosing childhood pneumococcal pneumonia in the 7 low- and middle-income countries studied is limited by poor specificity and by poor sensitivity among MCPP cases.