Detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae from culture-negative dried blood spots by real-time PCR in Nigerian children with acute febrile illness

Pui Ying Iroh Tam, Nelmary Hernandez-Alvarado, Mark R. Schleiss, Amy J. Yi, Fatimah Hassan-Hanga, Chuma Onuchukwu, Dominic Umoru, Stephen K. Obaro

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Objectives: Acute febrile illness is a common cause of hospital admission, and its associated infectious causes, of which a key bacterial causative agent is Streptococcus pneumoniae, contribute to substantial morbidity and mortality. We sought to evaluate the utility of real-time (rt)-PCR on dried blood spots (DBS) for diagnosis of S. pneumoniae in acute febrile illness among children presenting to hospitals in Nigeria. We previously described preliminary results in a sample of 537 patients. Here we present data from a larger collection of 1038 patients. Results: Using rt-PCR for Streptococcus pneumoniae on 1038 dried blood spots from children prospectively enrolled with acute febrile illness, including 79 healthy controls, we detected pneumococcal DNA in nine of 15 blood culture-positive specimens, one culture-negative specimen from a high-risk group, a culture-confirmed non-pneumococcal specimen and a healthy control. Six culture-positive isolates (40%) were negative. Sensitivity was 60%, specificity 99.7%, positive predictive value 75% and negative predictive value 99.4%. Rt-PCR of DBS has limited sensitivity in blood specimens from acute febrile illness in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number657
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 10 2018



  • Bloodstream infections
  • Children
  • Dried blood spot
  • Febrile illness
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Pneumococcus

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