Incidence of respiratory viruses in patients with community-acquired pneumonia admitted to the intensive care unit: results from the Severe Influenza Pneumonia Surveillance (SIPS) project

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 May;32(5):705-10. doi: 10.1007/s10096-012-1802-8. Epub 2012 Dec 30.


Few patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) require admission to the intensive care unit (ICU-CAP). However, they represent the most severe form of the disease. An understanding of the etiologic agents of ICU-CAP may lead to better treatment decisions and patient outcomes. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of respiratory viruses in patients with ICU-CAP. This was an observational study conducted in six Kentucky hospitals from December 2008 through October 2011. A case of ICU-CAP was defined as a patient admitted to an ICU with the diagnosis of CAP. The Luminex xTAG multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used for viral identification. A total of 468 adult and pediatric patients with ICU-CAP were enrolled in the study. A total of 92 adult patients (23 %) and 14 pediatric patients (19 %) had a respiratory virus identified. Influenza was the most common virus identified in adults and the second most common in pediatric patients. This study suggests that respiratory viruses may be common etiologic agents of pneumonia in patients with ICU-CAP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend empiric anti-influenza therapy during the winter for hospitalized patients with CAP. This study supports this recommendation in patients with ICU-CAP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / virology*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Kentucky / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Viruses / classification
  • Viruses / isolation & purification*