We conducted a study on throat swabs obtained from a group of hospitalized patients with community acquired pneumonia (CAP). Throat swab specimens from 242 adults admitted to hospital with CAP were tested. In total, 1 or more aetiological agents were identified by real-time PCR in 55 (23%) patients. The most frequently detected pathogens were coronavirus (17%), parainfluenza virus (6%) and influenza virus (4%). Overall, viral pathogens were identified by conventional techniques in 7 (2%) patients, and real-time PCR in 50 (21%) patients (p<0.0001). The diagnostic yield increased from 137 cases (57% of patients using conventional microbiological assays) to 158 cases (65% of patients using real-time PCR assays and conventional microbiological assays; p = 0.06). A significantly higher percentage of mortality was present in patients with a mixed bacterial and viral infection. L. pneumophila PCR was positive in only 3 out of 11 cases (27%) of Legionnaires' disease (LD). This study demonstrates that real-time PCR can increase the number of microbiological detections of respiratory pathogens, mainly as a result of detection of respiratory viruses.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/00365540802448799, hdl.handle.net/1765/25078
Diederen, B.M.W., van der Eerden, M., Vlaspolder, F., Boersma, W.G., Kluytmans, J.A.J.W., & Peeters, M.. (2009). Detection of respiratory viruses and Legionella spp. by real-time polymerase chain reaction in patients with community acquired pneumonia. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 41(1), 45–50. doi:10.1080/00365540802448799