Volume 56, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Bacterial culture of followed by serotyping is not always feasible under field conditions. Antigen detection methods could be an alternative, but they are associated with sensitivity problems. In an effort to improve their sensitivity, we introduced an enrichment phase before antigen detection and compared the results with direct bacterial culture, using nasopharyngeal swabs from 95 children with symptoms of acute respiratory infection. Antigen detection was performed by latex agglutination and counterimmunoelectrophoresis. was found in 29 (30%) of the samples by culture, and in 42 (44%) by antigen detection after enrichment, an excess of 45% over culture findings. This excess was shown to represent true positives samples since pneumococcal DNA could be detected by polymerase chain reaction in all 15 antigen-positive, culture-negative samples. Two culture-positive samples were antigen-negative; in one of these the bacteria were nonencapsulated. We conclude that for type-specific demonstration of , detection of pneumococcal antigen after an enrichment step is a sensitive method that can be applied for epidemiologic study purposes, e.g., in vaccine trials, in areas without ready access to a good microbiology laboratory.


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