Etiology of community-acquired pneumonia in children based on antibody responses to bacterial and viral antigens


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Abstract

The serologic responses to bacterial and viral antigens were determined in paired serum samples from 336 children, ages 1 month to 15 years, with roentgenographically verified community-acquired pneumonia. Significant increases in antibodies against one agent were found in 40% and against two or more agents in 8% of the children. There were significant increases in antibodies against respiratory syncytial virus in 20%, viruses of the influenza-par ainfluenza group in 6% and adenovirus in 3%. A serologic response to one or more of the pneumococcal antigens used (type-specific capsular polysaccharide, C-polysaccharide and pneumolysin) was demonstrated in 13% of the patients. Ten percent of the children had significant increases in antibodies against Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Only three patients had increases against Haemophilus influenzae type b and one each against Legionella pneumophila and Chlamydia. Respiratory syncytial virus was the predominant etiologic agent in young children whereas M. pneumoniae was more frequent in the older age group.

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