Use of serology to diagnose pneumonia caused by nonencapsulated Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis

J Infect Dis. 1994 Jul;170(1):220-2. doi: 10.1093/infdis/170.1.220.


Antibodies against nonencapsulated Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis were measured by ELISA in paired sera from 158 adult patients with pneumonia. A mixture of 10 clinical isolates of each species was used as antigen. Eleven patients (7%) showed significant increases in antibody to H. influenzae. In 3 of them, the organism was isolated from transtracheal aspirate and in another 7 from sputum, nasopharynx, or both. Six patients with nonencapsulated H. influenzae in transtracheal aspirate cultures did not show any antibody increase. Six patients had significant increases in antibody to M. catarrhalis. The organism was isolated in transtracheal aspirates from 1 of them and in sputum and nasopharynx (or both) from another 3. Two patients with M. catarrhalis in transtracheal aspirate cultures showed no antibody response. In conclusion, the serologic methods increased the possibility to diagnose infections caused by the two agents but had low sensitivity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Bacterial Capsules / physiology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Haemophilus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Haemophilus Infections / microbiology
  • Haemophilus influenzae / immunology
  • Haemophilus influenzae / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Moraxella catarrhalis / immunology
  • Moraxella catarrhalis / isolation & purification*
  • Neisseriaceae Infections / diagnosis*
  • Neisseriaceae Infections / microbiology
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia / microbiology
  • Serologic Tests


  • Antibodies, Bacterial