Molecular testing for Pneumococcus is used for the laboratory documentation of infection by this particular microorganism.
Pneumococcus or Streptococcus pneumoniae, is a Gram positive, α-hemolytic double strain, and a member of the genus Streptococcus. Pneumococcus is an important human pathogenic germ, recognized as a major cause of pneumonia at the end of the 19th century and has been the subject of many studies to date.
Despite its name, Pneumococcus causes many types of infections in addition to pneumonia, including acute laryngitis, otitis media, meningitis, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, endocarditis, pericarditis, peritonitis. Pneumococcus is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in adults and children and one of the two most common germs isolated in otitis media. Pneumococcal pneumonia is more common in very young and very elderly patients.
Pneumococcus can be differentiated from the green viridans Streptococci which is also α-hemolytic, using the optochin assay in which S. pneumoniae is susceptible. Pneumococcus is surrounded by a polysaccharide sheet which acts as an infectious agent for the body. 91 different microbial serotypes are known that differ in virulence, prevalence and degree of antibiotic resistance. S. pneumoniae has various virulence factors, including polysaccharide, that help to avoid the host's immune system. It also has surface proteins that inhibit complement-mediated opsonization and secrete an IgA protease that destroys the secretory IgA produced by the host.
The risk of pneumococcal infections is greatly increased in individuals with impaired IgG synthesis or defective phagocytic capacity. The absence of a functional spleen, due to congenital asplenia, splenectomy or sickle cell anemia, predisposes to a more serious course of infection.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.