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Clin Med Res. 2012 Nov;10(4):215-8. doi: 10.3121/cmr.2012.1084. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Comparison of nasal and nasopharyngeal swabs for influenza detection in adults.

Author information

  • 1Epidemiology Research Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, WI, USA. stephanie_irving@abtassoc.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Examine differences in the detection of influenza by specimen and test type using paired nasal and nasopharyngeal swabs.

DESIGN:

Prospective study

SETTING:

Enrollment took place between January and March 2007 in a central Wisconsin population.

PARTICIPANTS:

Adult patients were screened and enrolled by trained research coordinators following medical encounters for acute respiratory illnesses of <10 days duration.

METHODS:

Paired nasal and nasopharyngeal 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.

RESULTS:

Paired 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.

PMID:
22723469
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3494547
Free PMC Article
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