Viral and bacterial aetiology of community-acquired pneumonia in adults

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Please cite this paper as:

Huijskens et al. (2012) Viral and bacterial aetiology of community-acquired pneumonia in adults. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 7(4), 567–573.


Modern molecular techniques reveal new information on the role of respiratory viruses in community-acquired pneumonia. In this study, we tried to determine the prevalence of respiratory viruses and bacteria in patients with community-acquired pneumonia who were admitted to the hospital.


Between April 2008 and April 2009, 408 adult patients (aged between 20 and 94 years) with community-acquired pneumonia were tested for the presence of respiratory pathogens using bacterial cultures, real-time PCR for viruses and bacteria, urinary antigen testing for Legionella and Pneumococci and serology for the presence of viral and bacterial pathogens.


Pathogens were identified in 263 (64·5%) of the 408 patients. The most common single organisms in these 263 patients were Streptococcus pneumoniae (22·8%), Coxiella burnetii (6·8%) and influenza A virus (3·8%). Of the 263 patients detected with pathogens, 117 (44·5%) patients were positive for one or more viral pathogens. Of these 117 patients, 52 (44·4%) had no bacterial pathogen. Multiple virus infections (≥2) were found in 16 patients.


In conclusion, respiratory viruses are frequently found in patients with CAP and may therefore play an important role in the aetiology of this disease.

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