Background - Streptococcus pneumoniae is considered the leading bacterial cause of pneumonia in adults. Yet, it was not commonly detected by traditional culture-based and conventional urinary testing in a recent multicenter etiology study of adults hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). We used novel serotype-specific urinary antigen detection (SSUAD) assays to determine whether pneumococcal cases were missed by traditional testing.
Methods - We studied adult patients hospitalized with CAP at 5 hospitals in Chicago and Nashville (2010-2012) and enrolled in the Etiology of Pneumonia in the Community (EPIC) study. Traditional diagnostic testing included blood and sputum cultures and conventional urine antigen detection (ie, BinaxNOW). We applied SSUAD assays that target serotypes included in the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) to stored residual urine specimens.
Results - Among 1736 patients with SSUAD and ≥1 traditional pneumococcal test performed, we identified 169 (9.7%) cases of pneumococcal CAP. Traditional tests identified 93 (5.4%) and SSUAD identified 76 (4.4%) additional cases. Among 14 PCV13-serotype cases identified by culture, SSUAD correctly identified the same serotype in all of them. Cases identified by SSUAD vs traditional tests were similar in most demographic and clinical characteristics, although disease severity and procalcitonin concentration were highest among those with positive blood cultures. The proportion of pneumonia cases caused by serotypes exclusively covered by PCV13 was not significantly different between the first and second July-June study periods (6.4% vs 4.0%).
Conclusions - Although restricted to the detection of only 13 serotypes, SSUAD testing substantially increased the detection of pneumococcal pneumonia among adults hospitalized with CAP.