Detection of Chlamydophila pneumoniae IgG in paired serum samples: comparison of serological techniques in pneumonia cases
Serological diagnosis of Chamydophila pneumoniae is usually undertaken by complement fixation test (CFT) or by microimmunofluorescence (MIF). A number of commercial methods for detecting C. pneumoniae-specific IgG have been developed. The aim of this study was to compare the performance characteristics of six methods for the diagnosis of pneumonia due to C. pneumoniae, including CFT (in house), MIF (Vircell, Spain), and four ELISAs (Medac, Germany; Savyon, Israel; Serion, Germany; and DRG, Germany). ELISA-Medac, ELISA-Savyon, ELISA-DRG and MIF use C. pneumoniae antigens while ELISA-Serion and CFT use Chlamydophila genus-specific antigen. Acute and convalescent samples from 85 pneumonia patients were studied. Using CFT, cases were initially classified as due to Chlamydophila (43 cases); to other agents (23 cases) (influenza A and B, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus and Legionella pneumophila); or as negative (19 cases). Cases were considered positive if they showed seroconversion, a significant rise in titer or high titer; and were finally classified as positive if they gave a positive result in at least three assays. Sensitivity values ranged from 87% to 97.8%; and specificity from 84.6% to 97.4%. In conclusion, the assays compared appear to be useful tools for the diagnosis of pneumonia due to Chlamydophila.