Pneumonia remains a worldwide health problem with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Identification of microbial pathogens which cause pneumonia is an important area for optimum clinical management of pneumonia patients and is a big challenge for conventional microbiological methods. The development and implementation of molecular diagnostic tests for pneumonia has been a major advance in the microbiological diagnosis of respiratory pathogens in recent years. However, with new knowledge regarding the microbiome, together with the recognition that the lungs are a dynamic microbiological ecosystem, our current concept of pneumonia is not totally realistic as this new concept of pneumonia involves a dysbiosis or alteration of the lung microbiome. A new challenge for microbiologists and clinicians has therefore arisen. There is much to learn regarding the information provided by this new diagnostic technology, which will lead to improvements in the time to antibiotic therapy, targeted antibiotic selection and more effective de-escalation and improved stewardship for pneumonia patients. This article provides an overview of current methods of laboratory diagnosis of pneumonia in the molecular age.
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