A Haemophilus sp. dominates the microbiota of sputum from UK adults with non-severe community acquired pneumonia and chronic lung disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Daniel G. Wootton
  • Gregory B. Gloor
  • David Litt
  • Katja Hoschler
  • Esther German
  • Joanne Court
  • Odiri Eneje
  • Lynne Keogan
  • Laura Macfarlane
  • Sarah Wilks
  • Peter J. Diggle
  • Mark Woodhead
  • Miriam F. Moffatt
  • William O. C. Cookson
  • Stephen B. Gordon

Colleges, School and Institutes


The demographics and comorbidities of patients with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) vary enormously but stratified treatment is difficult because aetiological studies have failed to comprehensively identify the pathogens. Our aim was to describe the bacterial microbiota of CAP and relate these to clinical characteristics in order to inform future trials of treatment stratified by co-morbidity. CAP patients were prospectively recruited at two UK hospitals. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to identify the dominant bacteria in sputum and compositional data analysis to determine associations with patient characteristics. We analysed sputum samples from 77 patients and found a Streptococcus sp. and a Haemophilus sp. were the most relatively abundant pathogens. The Haemophilus sp. was more likely to be dominant in patients with pre-existing lung disease, and its relative abundance was associated with qPCR levels of Haemophilus influenzae. The most abundant Streptococcus sp. was associated with qPCR levels of Streptococcus pneumoniae but dominance could not be predicted from clinical characteristics. These data suggest chronic lung disease influences the microbiota of sputum in patients with CAP. This finding could inform a trial of stratifying empirical CAP antibiotics to target Haemophilus spp. in addition to Streptococcus spp. in those with chronic lung disease.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2388
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019