Mater Pathology

Mater Pathology introduces new test panel for atypical pneumonia

June 6, 2013

Mater Pathology is the only laboratory in Queensland to offer a new test panel for Atypical Pneumonia, a condition whereby the pneumonia is caused by atypical bacteria and the patient’s clinical presentation differs from the classic illness.

The Atypical Pneumonia PCR panel offered by Mater Pathology targets Legionella pneumophila, Legionella longbeachae and Chlamydia pneumoniae as well as other rarer causes of pneumonia (Chlamydia psittaci and Cryptococcus species).

This new PCR panel will assist in better diagnosis of atypical pneumonia, by allowing detection of the disease in the acute phase.

Previously, Chlamydia and Legionella testing consisted mainly of serology (Legionella can be cultured but it takes 14 days). Serology can be performed, however it may not be positive in the acute phase and follow-up serology is not always practical. A Legionella urinary antigen can also be performed but only detects Legionella pneumophila type 1.

The PCR panel can be ordered by writing ‘Atypical pneumonia PCR’ on the request form or the individual organism names.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a separate PCR and will need to be requested in addition to the ‘Atypical Pneumonia PCR’.

Testing is performed three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and the service will grow once requests increase.

The Atypical Pneumonia PCR panel can be performed on all sputum and respiratory samples although nasopharyngeal swabs are not recommended because of lower yield of organisms

For further information please contact Mater’s microbiology laboratory on telephone 07 3163 8168.

View our full respiratory viral PCR test information sheet.