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Streptococcus pneumoniae, Molecular Detection

Molecular testing for Streptococcus pneumoniae is used for the laboratory documentation of infection by this particular microorganism.

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Pneumococcus or Streptococcus pneumoniae, is a Gram-positive, alpha-hemolytic diplococci, and a member of the genus Streptococcus. Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important human pathogenic microbe, 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, Streptococcus pneumoniae causes many types of infections in addition to pneumonia, including acute sinusitis, otitis media, meningitis, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, endocarditis, peritonitis, pericarditis, cellulitis, and brain abscess. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in adults and children and one of the two most common microbes isolated in otitis media. Pneumococcal pneumonia is more common in very young and very elderly patients.

Streptococcus pneumoniae can be differentiated from Streptococcus viridans which is also alpha-hemolytic, using the optochin test to which S. pneumoniae is sensitive. Streptococcus pneumoniae is surrounded by a polysaccharide capsule that acts as an infectious agent for the organism. 91 different serotypes of the microbe are known that differ in virulence, prevalence, and degree of antibiotic resistance. S. pneumoniae has various virulence factors, including polysaccharidic capsule, that help to avoid the host's immune system. It also has surface proteins that inhibit complement-mediated opsonization and secretes an IgA protease that destroys 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.



Important Note

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. The 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.

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