Chlamydia Pneumoniae (Swab)
Does this test have other names?
Chlamydophila pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae) (swab), throat culture, pneumonia testing
What is this test?
If your healthcare provider suspects you have C. pneumoniae, he or she may do a swab
test of your nose or throat to test for it. C. pneumoniae is just one of many strains
of bacterial pneumonia that a person can become infected with.
Why do I need this test?
When you have a bacterial pneumonia such as C. pneumoniae, it can be potentially life-threatening
if not treated. Symptoms may look like a common cold at first. You may have chest
congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. But these symptoms can get worse over time.
If the infection isn't treated, you may even end up in the hospital. The C. pneumoniae
bacteria can't be found by looking through a microscope, so your healthcare provider
needs a culture to find out exactly which bacteria you have. This means technicians
try to grow the bacteria in your sample in the lab. Then your provider can give you
the right treatment.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
Blood tests are sometimes used to identify C. pneumoniae. If your healthcare provider
isn't sure of the cause of your infection, you may be tested for other bacteria, too.
What do my test results mean?
A result for a lab test may be affected by many things, including the method the laboratory
uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value,
you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your
The best result of a culture is to find no trace of bacteria. If the culture grows
bacteria, then technicians can figure out which types of bacteria are there. The best
treatment can then be prescribed.
How is this test done?
Your healthcare provider rubs a cotton swab in the back of your throat or nose to
collect a sample for culture. The swab is taken to the lab, where the culture is grown
to find out what germ is causing your illness.
Does this test pose any risks?
This test poses no known risks.
What might affect my test results?
Other bacteria or germs found in your mouth and throat can cause problems in getting
an accurate culture from a throat swab. Although it doesn't affect test results, the
other drawback to getting a culture from a throat swab is that it often takes 1 to
3 weeks to get the results. For this reason, other tests, including blood tests, are
often done to check for the cause of pneumonia. This way treatment can be started
more quickly. But a blood test is not as accurate as growing a culture.
How do I get ready for this test?
No preparation is needed for the test.