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J Infect Dis. 2006 May 15;193(10):1361-4. Epub 2006 Apr 4.

Nucleic acid testing for west nile virus RNA in plasma enhances rapid diagnosis of acute infection in symptomatic patients.

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Provincial Laboratory for Public Health (Microbiology), and Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Although nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) for West Nile virus (WNV) is useful in screening blood donors, such methods have not been studied in symptomatic patients. For diagnosis of WNV infection, 1.0 mL of plasma was tested by NAAT, and WNV-specific immunoglobulin M was assayed. Of 276 WNV cases, 191 were tested by both serology and NAAT. Of these, 86 (45.0%), 111 (58.1%), and 180 (94.2%) were detected by NAAT, serology, and combined NAAT and serology, respectively. NAAT-based screening was most useful within 8 days of the onset of symptoms. Viremia is common in early symptomatic WNV infection, and NAAT enhances diagnostic yield.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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