Knowledge on the etiology of LRTIs is essential for improvement of the clinical diagnosis and accurate treatment. Molecular detection methods were applied to identify a broad range of bacterial and viral pathogens in a large set of bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples. The patterns of detected pathogens were correlated to the clinical symptoms.
BAL fluid samples and clinical data were collected from 573 hospitalized children between 1 month and 14 years of age with LRTIs, enrolled from January to December 2018. Pathogens were detected using standardized clinical diagnostics, with a sensitive, high-throughput GeXP-based multiplex PCR and with multiplex qPCR. Data were analyzed to describe the correlation between the severity of respiratory tract disease and the pathogens identified.
The pathogen detection rate with GeXP-based PCR and multiplex qPCR was significantly higher than by clinical routine diagnostics (76.09% VS 36.13%,χ = 8.191, P = 0.004). The most frequently detected pathogens in the BAL fluid were human adenovirus (HADV)(21.82%), Mycoplasma pneumoniae (20.24%), human rhinovirus (13.96%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (8.90%) and Haemophilus influenzae (8.90%). In 16.4% of the cases co-detection with two or three different pathogens was found. Viral detection rates declined with age, while atypical pathogen detection rates increased with age. Oxygen supply in the HADV and Influenza H1N1 infected patients was more frequent (49.43%) than in patients infected with other pathogens.
Broad range detection of viral and bacterial pathogens using molecular methods is a promising and implementable approach to improve clinical diagnosis and accurate treatment of LRTI in children.