What is the role of Gram stain and culture in the workup of pneumococcal infection?

Updated: Jun 08, 2020
  • Author: Eduardo Sanchez, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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If a pneumococcal infection is suspected or considered, Gram stain and culture of appropriate specimens should be obtained, when possible. Potential specimens may include one or more of the following:

  • Blood
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • Sputum
  • Pleural fluid or lung aspirate
  • Joint fluid
  • Bone
  • Other abscess or tissue specimens

Specimens should be obtained prior to the initiation of antibiotic therapy and inoculated directly into blood-culture bottles, when possible.

Antibiotic susceptibilities should be obtained routinely on all cultures with growth of S pneumoniae. Note that MIC breakpoints are different depending on the specimen type.

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