Application of metagenomic next-generation sequencing in the diagnosis of severe pneumonia caused by Chlamydia psittaci

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Purpose: Psittacosis is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by the transmission of the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci) from birds to humans. Infections in humans mainly present as community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). However, most cases are treated without diagnostic testing, and the importance of Chlamydia psittaci infection as a cause of CAP is therefore unclear. Diagnostic tools, including culture, serologic test, and PCR-based methods, are available but prone to false negative results. Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) has been increasingly used in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, particularly when conventional diagnostic approaches have limitation. Detection of nucleic acid sequence of C. psittaci in respiratory tract samples by metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) is effective for early diagnosis of severe C. psittaci pneumonia. Timely treatment based on tetracycline can reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics and improve prognosis of patients with severe C. psittaci pneumonia. Methods: Clinical data of thirteen patients with severe C. psittaci pneumonia diagnosed by mNGS were collected. Clinical manifestations, treatment and prognosis of patients were summarized. Results: The typical symptoms of pneumonia caused by C. psittaci include fever, headache, myalgia, cough, and dyspnea. In the current study, all patients met the criteria for severe C. psittaci pneumonia and received mechanical ventilation, including noninvasive mechanical ventilation (five/thirteen) and invasive mechanical ventilation (eight/thirteen). The findings showed that patients with C. psittaci pneumonia presented with normal or slightly increased leucocytes and procalcitonin, and high C-reactive protein levels. Computed tomography manifestations included consolidation of lung parenchyma, with air bronchogram and pleural effusion in some patients. mNGS analysis results were obtained within 48–72 h. Eleven patients fully recovered after targeted treatment, however, two patients died from secondary multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Conclusions: The findings of the current study show that mNGS is effective in diagnosis of C. psittaci pneumonia, and has significant diagnosis value in patients with severe infection. Patients responds well to the timely use of appropriate antibiotics.




Wu, H. huan, Feng, L. fang, & Fang, S. yan. (2021). Application of metagenomic next-generation sequencing in the diagnosis of severe pneumonia caused by Chlamydia psittaci. BMC Pulmonary Medicine, 21(1).

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