Comparison of Nasal and Nasopharyngeal Swabs for Influenza Detection in Adults.

1Epidemiology Research Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield WI, USA.
Clinical Medicine &amp Research 06/2012; DOI: 10.3121/cmr.2012.1084
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Objectives
Examine differences in the detection of influenza by specimen and test type using paired nasal and nasopharyngeal swabs.DesignProspective studySettingEnrollment took place between January and March of 2007 in a central Wisconsin population.ParticipantsAdult patients were screened and enrolled by trained research coordinators following medical encounters for acute respiratory illnesses of <10 days duration.Methods
Paired nasal and NP swabs were collected from consenting patients and tested by both real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and viral culture. A composite measure of positivity was used as the gold standard; cases included any positive result by rRT-PCR or viral culture from either specimen type.ResultsPaired samples were collected from 240 adults; 33 (14%) individuals tested positive for influenza by rRT-PCR. Using rRT-PCR, the sensitivity of the nasal swab was 89% (95% CI 78 - 99%) and the sensitivity of the nasopharyngeal swab was 94% (95% CI 87 - 100%), compared to a composite gold standard.Conclusion
Test sensitivity did not vary significantly by swab type when using a highly sensitive molecular diagnostic test, but power was limited to detect modest differences.

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