Rapid diagnosis of respiratory Chlamydia pneumoniae infection by nested touchdown polymerase chain reaction compared with culture and antigen detection by EIA

J Infect Dis. 1997 Jun;175(6):1523-6. doi: 10.1086/516492.


Chlamydia pneumoniae is a common cause of respiratory tract infection and community-acquired pneumonia. During an extensive outbreak of C. pneumoniae in northern Sweden, 319 respiratory samples from 129 persons were collected. Sputum, throat, and nasopharyngeal samples were obtained and analyzed by nested touchdown polymerase chain reaction (PCR), EIA, and culture in Hep-2 and McCoy cells. Serology was performed by complement fixation and microimmunofluorescence tests. By PCR, 30 patients were diagnosed with C. pneumoniae compared with 26 positive by EIA and 23 by culture. The finding of C. pneumoniae in the respiratory samples was accompanied by serology indicating acute infection in 26 (96%) of 27 patients for whom adequate sera were available. Nested PCR was sensitive and reliable for diagnosing acute respiratory C. pneumoniae infection. Sputum samples had the highest diagnostic efficacy, and the nested type of PCR was superior to one-step PCR. EIA and culture were less sensitive than nested PCR.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / growth & development
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / immunology
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / isolation & purification*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lipopolysaccharides / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology
  • Pharynx / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Sweden


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Lipopolysaccharides