Respiratory tract infections are often treated empirically without investigation to detect the aetiological agent, which may be a virus or a bacterium, including atypical pathogens such as Chlamydophila pneumoniae or Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Recently, several types Chlamydia-like intracellular bacteria have been detected in environmental samples and clinical specimens. Little is known of their geographical distribution and potential pathogenicity. We describe the detection, by PCR and isolation in cell culture, of Simkania negevensis in nasopharyngeal aspirates of paediatric patients with bronchiolitis in Cornwall, UK. We also present serological evidence of exposure to the organism in 62% of adult patients and 46% of a sample of pregnant women. Empirical treatment of serious respiratory tract infection should consider the possible contribution of these organisms.
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Statement of competing interests: The authors of this manuscript have no competing interests.
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