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Diagnosing the etiologic agent of pneumonia has an essential role in ensuring the most appropriate and effective therapy for individual patients and is critical to guiding the development of treatment and prevention strategies. However, establishing the etiology of pneumonia remains challenging because of the relative inaccessibility of the infected tissue and the difficulty in obtaining samples without contamination by upper respiratory tract secretions. Here, we review the published and unpublished literature on various specimens available for the diagnosis of pediatric pneumonia. We discuss the advantages and limitations of each specimen, and discuss the rationale for the specimens to be collected for the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health study.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date



54 Suppl 2


S132 - S139


Blood, Bodily Secretions, Child, Humans, Lung Diseases, Patient Selection, Pediatrics, Pneumonia, Respiratory Tract Infections, Serologic Tests, Specimen Handling, Sputum, Urine