Urinary antigen detection in the diagnosis of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection

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Often pulmonary infections determining CAP (community acquired pneumonia) have not been attributed to specific microrganisms due to various technical or biological difficulties. More recently, a new test (named Binax Now) has been proposed for pneumococcal antigen detection and proven simple and efficacious. It is now available both foe adult and pediatric utilization. In adults relative problems have been documented for specificity more than for sensitivity; the test positivity persists for several weeks following pneumonia. In COPD and its exacerbations as well as in clinically stable HIV patients, the test has not been proven useful as in pneumococcal community acquired pneumonia. Satisfactory results have also been obtained in children suffering from IPD (invasive pneumococcal disease), although, in this case also, they are in general better for sensibility than for specificity. In children, not in adults, some possible limitations are constituted by the difficulty in distinguishing pneumococcal pneumonia from oropharyngeal colonization. One of the main advantage of this test is the high sensitivity in patients receiving antimicrobial therapy at the time of evaluation. There are at least two other reasons that make this assay very attractive for the clinician, first the sensitivity and specificity, in adults, appear to be as good as those for conventional Gram staining and culture, second this test may allow an "emergency room" etiologic diagnosis leading to a possible "targeted" therapy within minutes from admission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-208
Number of pages10
JournalGIMT - Giornale Italiano delle Malattie del Torace
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • COPD
  • HIV
  • Invasive pneumococcal disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Rapid test
  • Sensibility
  • Specificity
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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