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J Infect Dis. 2004 Feb 15;189(4):706-10. Epub 2004 Feb 4.

Superiority of reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction to conventional viral culture in the diagnosis of acute respiratory tract infections in children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Strong Children's Research Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. geoff_weinberg@urmc.rochester.edu


We compared the rates of detection of respiratory viruses by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by conventional viral culture in 668 combined nasal and throat samples from a prospective, multicenter, population-based study of acute respiratory tract infections among hospitalized children aged <5 years. RT-PCR increased the yield of viral identification by 2-fold, compared with that of culture alone. The increased sensitivity of viral detection by RT-PCR will yield better estimates of the population burden of viral respiratory infections.

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