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Determining the microbiological cause of a chest infection
  1. Julia E Clark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Julia E Clark, Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Infection Management and Prevention Service, Royal Children's Hospital, Level 1, South Tower, RCH, Herston, Brisbane, QLD 4029, Australia; Julia.clark{at}


Over recent years non-culture techniques such as specific viral and bacterial nucleic acid amplification, serology and antigen detection have considerably developed and been applied within research studies to clinical samples, significantly increasing pathogen detection in pneumonia. There are promising signs of improved diagnostic yields for pneumococcal pneumonia when using molecular techniques to detect pneumococcal gene sequences in blood or by combining serum biomarkers with rapid pneumococcal urinary antigen testing. Pathogens have traditionally been difficult to detect in pneumonia and treatment is usually successful with empiric antibiotics. However, directed antibiotic treatment has significant benefits in terms of antibiotic stewardship and these new technologies make this goal a possibility, though not yet a reality.

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Respiratory
  • Virology

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