Epidemiology and Infection



Chlamydia pneumoniae infection in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


L. VON HERTZEN a1, H. ALAKÄRPPÄ a2, R. KOSKINEN a3, K. LIIPPO a4, H.-M. SURCEL a2, M. LEINONEN a2 and P. SAIKKU a2
a1 National Public Health Institute, FIN-00300 Helsinki, Finland
a2 National Public Health Institute, FIN-90101 Oulu, Finland
a3 Laakso Hospital, Outpatient Clinic, FIN-02500 Helsinki, Finland
a4 Turku University Central Hospital, Department of Diseases of the Chest, FIN-21540 Preitilä, Finland

Abstract

The prevalence of chronic Chlamydia pneumoniae infection was assessed in 54 patients with established chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 41 of these with severe COPD (group I), 13 with mild to moderate COPD (group II), and in 23 patients with community-acquired pneumonia (controls, group III). Specific IgG and IgA antibody levels and circulating immune complexes (ICs) were measured in paired sera, and specific secretory IgA (sIgA) levels in sputum specimens. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was used for the detection of C. pneumoniae in sputum. According to our definite diagnosis criterion, 65% of the COPD patients showed evidence of suspected chronic C. pneumoniae infection and the prevalence was still higher (71%) in patients with severe disease. The occurrence of specific markers of infection was invariably highest in patients with severe COPD, next-highest in patients with mild to moderate COPD and lowest in pneumonia patients. The association between COPD and C. pneumoniae infection persisted after controlling for the potential confounding factors.

(Accepted October 29 1996)


Correspondence:
Correspondence and requests for reprints: Dr Leena von Hertzen, The Finnish Lung Health Association, Sibeliuksenkatu 11 A 1, FIN-00250 Helsinki, Finland.


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