S. pneumoniae testing is critical to diagnose secondary bacterial pneumonia infections

As concern over the potential mutation of the latest form of influenza virus continues to vex governments and their healthcare organisations, WHO 2009 data has shown that acute respiratory infections, influenza and respiratory syncitial virus (RSV) epidemics coincide with epidemics of S. pneumoniae. In fact, half or more of flu-associated mortality in the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu epidemic is believed to have resulted from pneumococcal super-infections.

Photo: Influenza

Therefore, during high influenza infection periods it becomes vital to diagnose and reduce the complications of secondary bacterial infections by rapid testing for S. pneumoniae . The BinaxNOW S. pneumoniae test from Inverness Medical, for example, is a 15 minute in vitro immunochromatographic assay to detect S. pneumoniae antigen in the urine of patients with pneumonia, to be used in conjunction with culture and other methods. ‘The easy-to-use, urine-based test allows targeted antibiotic treatment within four hours of admission, enabling improved patient outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs,’ the manufacturer reports, referring to Houck PM et al. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Mar 22; 164 (6):637-44.
‘Urinary antigen testing for S. pneumoniae has several advantages over conventional microbiology testing for the diagnosis of community acquired pneumonia (CAP). Sputum samples are difficult to obtain and the yield of both sputum gram stain and culture can be limited particularly if the patient has commenced antibiotic treatment.’

It has been recommended that urinary antigen testing for S. pneumoniae be incorporated into the testing algorithms of Country specific Guidelines for the Management of Community Acquired Pneumonia (L Mandell et al. published in Clinical Infectious Diseases 2007; 44: S27-72).

Massachusetts-based Inverness Medical focuses on products for infectious disease control, cardiology, oncology, drugs of abuse and women’s health. To discuss the importance of rapid testing for respiratory infections, including influenza A and B, S. pneumoniae, Legionella, RSV and the product BinaxNOW S. pneumoniae, visit the company’s stand.

Inverness at Medica
Hall 3. Stand C70


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