The management of community-acquired pneumonia remains mainly driven by empiric antibiotic therapy because existing microbiological techniques are relatively insensitive and rarely deliver an answer within a useful time frame. Advances in the molecular detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae in whole blood have been published that suggest that a new era of diagnostics may be ready for routine clinical practice. As well as improved sensitivity over existing culture techniques and a very high specificity, the new assays quantitate the amount of bacteremia which appears to be an extremely useful prognostic marker. Here we review the recent studies and their implications in the setting of pneumococcoal pneumonia.
Keywords: Pneumococcus, PCR, quantitative, bacterial load, Molecular Diagnosis, community-acquired pneumonia, antibiotic therapy, blood, culture techniques, high specificity, alpha-hemolytic, respiratory tract, real-time PCR, DNA
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