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Aetiological role of viral and bacterial infections in acute adult lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in primary care

Creer, DD; Dilworth, JP; Gillespie, SH; Johnston, AR; Johnston, SL; Ling, C; Patel, S; ... McHugh, TD; + view all (2006) Aetiological role of viral and bacterial infections in acute adult lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in primary care. THORAX , 61 (1) 75 - 79. 10.1136/thx.2004.027441.

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Abstract

Background: Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) are a common reason for consulting general practitioners (GPs). In most cases the aetiology is unknown, yet most result in an antibiotic prescription. The aetiology of LRTI was investigated in a prospective controlled study.Methods: Eighty adults presenting to GPs with acute LRTI were recruited together with 49 controls over 12 months. Throat swabs, nasal aspirates ( patients and controls), and sputum ( patients) were obtained and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays were used to detect Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, influenza viruses (AH1, AH3 and B), parainfluenza viruses 1 - 3, coronaviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, and enteroviruses. Standard sputum bacteriology was also performed. Outcome was recorded at a follow up visit.Results: Potential pathogens were identified in 55 patients with LRTI (69%) and seven controls (14%; p< 0.0001). The identification rate was 63% ( viruses) and 26% ( bacteria) for patients and 12% ( p, 0.0001) and 6% ( p = 0.013), respectively, for controls. The most common organisms identified in the patients were rhinoviruses (33%), influenza viruses (24%), and Streptococcus pneumoniae (19%) compared with 2% ( p< 0.001), 6% ( p = 0.013), and 4% ( p = 0.034), respectively, in controls. Multiple pathogens were identified in 18 of the 80 LRTI patients (22.5%) and in two of the 49 controls ( 4%; p = 0.011). Atypical organisms were rarely identified. Cases with bacterial aetiology were clinically indistinguishable from those with viral aetiology.Conclusion: Patients presenting to GPs with acute adult LRTI predominantly have a viral illness which is most commonly caused by rhinoviruses and influenza viruses.

Type: Article
Title: Aetiological role of viral and bacterial infections in acute adult lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in primary care
DOI: 10.1136/thx.2004.027441
Keywords: POLYMERASE CHAIN-REACTION, CHLAMYDIA-PNEUMONIAE, ACUTE BRONCHITIS, RT-PCR, COMMUNITY, ASTHMA, EXACERBATIONS, CHILDREN, VIRUSES
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/190881
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