How are invasive pneumococcal infections diagnosed?

Updated: Jun 08, 2020
  • Author: Eduardo Sanchez, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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In most patients with invasive pneumococcal infections, the WBC count is elevated (>12,000 cells/μL) and there is a predominance of neutrophils. However, the WBC count may be normal, especially early in the disease process. Conversely, leukopenia may indicate severe disease and is a poor prognostic sign. The ESR and CRP level are typically elevated.

The development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for S pneumoniae with sufficient sensitivity and specificity is being widely investigated. Successful commercial assays may prove to be clinically useful but are not yet commercially available.

Recent studies have used matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) technology to identify the most frequent pneumococcal serotypes that cause invasive disease. [66]

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