Coinfections with Other Respiratory Pathogens among Patients with COVID-19

Microbiol Spectr. 2021 Jul 21:e0016321. doi: 10.1128/Spectrum.00163-21. Online ahead of print.


Emerging evidence indicates that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected individuals are at an increased risk for coinfections; therefore, physicians need to be cognizant about excluding other treatable respiratory pathogens. Here, we report coinfection with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens in patients admitted to the coronavirus disease (COVID) care facilities of an Indian tertiary care hospital. From June 2020 through January 2021, we tested 191 patients with SARS-CoV-2 for 33 other respiratory pathogens using an fast track diagnostics respiratory pathogen 33 (FTD-33) assay. Additionally, information regarding other relevant respiratory pathogens was collected by reviewing their laboratory data. Overall, 13 pathogens were identified among patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, and 46.6% (89/191) of patients had coinfection with one or more additional pathogens. Bacterial coinfections (41.4% [79/191]) were frequent, with Staphylococcus aureus being the most common, followed by Klebsiella pneumoniae. Coinfections with SARS-CoV-2 and Pneumocystis jirovecii or Legionella pneumophila were also identified. The viral coinfection rate was 7.3%, with human adenovirus and human rhinovirus being the most common. Five patients in our cohort had positive cultures for Acinetobacter baumannii and K. pneumoniae, and two patients had active Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. In total, 47.1% (90/191) of patients with coinfections were identified. The higher proportion of patients with coinfections in our cohort supports the systemic use of antibiotics in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia with rapid de-escalation based on respiratory PCR/culture results. The timely and simultaneous identification of coinfections can contribute to improved health of COVID-19 patients and enhanced antibiotic stewardship during the pandemic. IMPORTANCE Coinfections in COVID-19 patients may worsen disease outcomes and need further investigation. We found that a higher proportion of patients with COVID-19 were coinfected with one or more additional pathogens. A better understanding of the prevalence of coinfection with other respiratory pathogens in COVID-19 patients and the profile of pathogens can contribute to effective patient management and antibiotic stewardship during the current pandemic.

PMID:34287033 | DOI:10.1128/Spectrum.00163-21