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Ann Emerg Med. 2006 Mar;47(3):250-4. Epub 2005 Dec 20.

Performance characteristics of a rapid immunochromatographic assay for detection of influenza virus in children during the 2003 to 2004 influenza season.

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Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.



We evaluate the performance of a rapid assay (Binax NOW) for the detection of influenza A virus in children.


The performance of an in vitro rapid immunochromatographic assay for detection of influenza A virus was compared to viral culture in 4,383 consecutive respiratory specimens received during the 2003 to 2004 season, which included an influenza A epidemic in October and November of 2003.


The overall test sensitivity was 61.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 60.3% to 63.2%) and specificity was 95.8% (95% CI 95.1% to 96.3%). In preplanned subset analyses, we found the test more sensitive in infants aged 90 days or younger (sensitivity 70.3%; specificity 96.6%) and less specific during the epidemic (sensitivity 61.7%; specificity 90.4%).


This rapid assay was highly specific for detecting influenza A in children and thus appears useful for confirming this infection. Because of its limited sensitivity, however, a negative test cannot rule out influenza A.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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