Background: Knowledge of predominant microbial patterns in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) constitutes the basis for initial decisions about empirical antimicrobial treatment, so a prospective study was performed during 2003-2004 among CAP of adult Chinese urban populations.
Methods: Qualified patients were enrolled and screened for bacterial, atypical, and viral pathogens by sputum and/or blood culturing, and by antibody seroconversion test. Antibiotic treatment and patient outcome were also assessed.
Results: Non-viral pathogens were found in 324/610 (53.1%) patients among whom M. pneumoniae was the most prevalent (126/610, 20.7%). Atypical pathogens were identified in 62/195 (31.8%) patients carrying bacterial pathogens. Respiratory viruses were identified in 35 (19%) of 184 randomly selected patients with adenovirus being the most common (16/184, 8.7%). The nonsusceptibility of S. pneumoniae to penicillin and azithromycin was 22.2% (Resistance (R): 3.2%, Intermediate (I): 19.0%) and 79.4% (R: 79.4%, I: 0%), respectively. Of patients (312) from whom causative pathogens were identified and antibiotic treatments were recorded, clinical cure rate with beta-lactam antibiotics alone and with combination of a beta-lactam plus a macrolide or with fluoroquinolones was 63.7% (79/124) and 67%(126/188), respectively. For patients having mixed M. pneumoniae and/or C. pneumoniae infections, a better cure rate was observed with regimens that are active against atypical pathogens (e.g. a beta-lactam plus a macrolide, or a fluoroquinolone) than with beta-lactam alone (75.8% vs. 42.9%, p = 0.045).
Conclusion: In Chinese adult CAP patients, M. pneumoniae was the most prevalent with mixed infections containing atypical pathogens being frequently observed. With S. pneumoniae, the prevalence of macrolide resistance was high and penicillin resistance low compared with data reported in other regions.