Procalcitonin in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

J Infect. 2004 May;48(4):303-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2004.01.015.


Objective and methods: The role of procalcitonin (PCT) in severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has not been highlighted so far. We described retrospectively eight cases of sepsis from pneumonia of various microbiological aetiologies including two due to SARS, compared their PCT concentrations and provided further descriptors of SARS as a viral pneumonia.

Results: Like any viral pneumonia, patients with SARS had low PCT levels in contrast to bacterial or fungal pneumonia.

Conclusions: In the setting of pneumonia with a finding of low PCT, testing for SARS should be considered, especially if there is a positive travel or contact history. During a SARS epidemic, we also strongly advocate isolating all suspected community acquired pneumonia with a low PCT level.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcitonin / blood*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Community-Acquired Infections / blood
  • Community-Acquired Infections / virology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Protein Precursors / blood*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS Virus / growth & development*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / blood*


  • CALCA protein, human
  • Protein Precursors
  • Calcitonin
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide