Rapid optimization of antimicrobial chemotherapy given to pediatric patients with community-acquired pneumonia using PCR techniques with serology and standard culture

Eiichi Nakayama, Keiko Hasegawa, Miyuki Morozumi, Reiko Kobayashi, Naoko Chiba, Taketoshi Iitsuka, Takeshi Tajima, Keisuke Sunakawa, Kimiko Ubukata

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Children (n = 117; mean age 2.4 ± 2.9 years) were diagnosed as having community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) using clinical symptoms, chest X-rays, and hematological data. The causative pathogen was determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (6 bacteria), multiple reverse transcription-PCR (MPCR; 11 viruses), bacterial culture, and serology. The initial chemotherapy was evaluated based on the pathogens identified using PCR. We found 27 viral cases (23.1%), 25 bacterial cases (21.4%), 45 mixed infections with virus and bacteria (38.5%), 10 Mycoplasma pneumoniae (8.5%), 7 mixed infections with M. pneumoniae and another pathogen (6.0%), 1 Chlamydophila pneumoniae (0.9%), and 2 unknown pathogens (1.7%). Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae accounted for 58 (49.5%) and 27 (23.0%) of the cases, respectively. The median values (50%) of the white blood cell count (WBC) and C-reactive protein (CRP) using the box-and-whisker and plot method, respectively, were 11.7 × 103 mm-3 and 1.4 mg/dl in viral infections, 15.6 × 103 mm-3 and 4.8 mg/dl in mixed infections with virus and bacteria, 17.8 × 103 mm-3 and 6.3 mg/dl in bacterial infections, 6.7 × 103 mm-3 and 1.4 mg/dl in M. pneumoniae infections, and 21.5 × 103 mm-3 and 6.4 mg/dl in mixed infections with M. pneumoniae and other bacterial infections. Sulbactam/ampicillin (n = 61), carbapenems (n = 12), and ceftriaxone (n = 7) were selected for the patients suspected of having bacterial infections alone or mixed infections with bacterial and viruses in accordance with our criteria defined tentatively. For those with M. pneumoniae and C. pneumoniae infections, azithromycin or minocycline was initially used. Treatments averaged 3-5 days. The empirical chemotherapy was improper in 9.4% of cases in relation to the etiologic agents finally identified. We conclude that rapid and comprehensive identification using PCR can provide optimal antimicrobial chemotherapy for CAP patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infection and Chemotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct



  • Antimicrobial chemotherapy
  • C-Reactive protein
  • Child
  • Community-acquired pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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