Etiology of community-acquired pneumonia in children based on antibody responses to bacterial and viral antigens

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1989 Dec;8(12):856-62. doi: 10.1097/00006454-198912000-00006.


The serologic responses to bacterial and viral antigens were determined in paired serum samples from 336 children, ages 1 month to 15 years, with roentgenographically verified community-acquired pneumonia. Significant increases in antibodies against one agent were found in 40% and against two or more agents in 8% of the children. There were significant increases in antibodies against respiratory syncytial virus in 20%, viruses of the influenza-parainfluenza group in 6% and adenovirus in 3%. A serologic response to one or more of the pneumococcal antigens used (type-specific capsular polysaccharide, C-polysaccharide and pneumolysin) was demonstrated in 13% of the patients. Ten percent of the children had significant increases in antibodies against Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Only three patients had increases against Haemophilus influenzae type b and one each against Legionella pneumophila and Chlamydia. Respiratory syncytial virus was the predominant etiologic agent in young children whereas M. pneumoniae was more frequent in the older age group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviruses, Human / immunology
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlamydia / immunology
  • Haemophilus influenzae / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Legionella / immunology
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology
  • Pneumonia / etiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / etiology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Viral