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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Infectious Diseases 1/2018

Impact of microbial Aetiology on mortality in severe community-acquired pneumonia

BMC Infectious Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jessica Quah, Boran Jiang, Poh Choo Tan, Chuin Siau, Thean Yen Tan



The impact of different classes of microbial pathogens on mortality in severe community-acquired pneumonia is not well elucidated. Previous studies have shown significant variation in the incidence of viral, bacterial and mixed infections, with conflicting risk associations for mortality. We aimed to determine the risk association of microbial aetiologies with hospital mortality in severe CAP, utilising a diagnostic strategy incorporating molecular testing. Our primary hypothesis was that respiratory viruses were important causative pathogens in severe CAP and was associated with increased mortality when present with bacterial pathogens in mixed viral-bacterial co-infections.


A retrospective cohort study from January 2014 to July 2015 was conducted in a tertiary hospital medical intensive care unit in eastern Singapore, which has a tropical climate. All patients diagnosed with severe community-acquired pneumonia were included.


A total of 117 patients were in the study. Microbial pathogens were identified in 84 (71.8%) patients. Mixed viral-bacterial co-infections occurred in 18 (15.4%) of patients. Isolated viral infections were present in 32 patients (27.4%); isolated bacterial infections were detected in 34 patients (29.1%). Hospital mortality occurred in 16 (13.7%) patients. The most common bacteria isolated was Streptococcus pneumoniae and the most common virus isolated was Influenza A. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression showed that serum procalcitonin, APACHE II severity score and mixed viral-bacterial infection were associated with increased risk of hospital mortality. Mixed viral-bacterial co-infections were associated with an adjusted odds ratio of 13.99 (95% CI 1.30–151.05, p = 0.03) for hospital mortality.


Respiratory viruses are common organisms isolated in severe community-acquired pneumonia. Mixed viral-bacterial infections may be associated with an increased risk of mortality.
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