Effectiveness of two rapid influenza tests in comparison to reverse transcription-PCR for influenza A diagnosis
Introduction: The influenza A virus is responsible for high morbidity and mortality in children and adults worldwide. Thus, a rapid, sensitive, and specific diagnosis tool is required.
Methodology: An immunofluorescence assay (DFA) and a lateral-flow immunochromatographic assay were compared with RT-PCR for detection of the influenza A virus in 113 nasopharyngeal wash samples obtained from pediatric patients. Samples were collected between July and December 2009, during the pandemic outbreak of influenza A H1N1/09.
Results: The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values obtained for the DFA were 68.97%, 76.63%, 75.47%, and 70%, respectively, while the values obtained for the immunochromatographic assay were 58.62%, 81.82%, 77.27%, and 65.22%, respectively. The frequency of the influenza A virus was 51.33%, and a total of 27 samples were positive for the pandemic influenza A H1N1/09.
Conclusions: DFA and the immunochromatographic assay can be important tools for patient care during influenza season and in outbreaks as they usually provide results within 45 minutes. Furthermore, positive results in conjunction with the patient’s symptoms could provide a correct diagnosis, thus facilitating appropriate patient management. Nonetheless, the results of these assays still require confirmation by RT-PCR.
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