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Acta Paediatr. 1996 Feb;85(2):163-7.

MxA protein in infants and children with respiratory tract infection.

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University Children's Hospital, Freiburg, Germany.


MxA protein--a stable product of cells stimulated by type I interferons--was examined prospectively for its ability to discriminate between viral and bacterial respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in 182 infants and children. The nasopharyngeal secretions (NPSs) of all of them were tested for MxA using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the whole blood of 92. Seventy-three children undergoing elective surgery served as controls. These apparently healthy children had higher levels of serum MxA than adult controls. Using antigen detection and serology, a viral aetiology was diagnosed in 81/182 cases. The sensitivity and specificity of MxA ELISA were assessed at 92 and 76% for the blood test and at 40 and 91% for the NPS, respectively. The positive predictive value for a viral RTI was superior to a leucocyte count or C-reactive protein when determined only once.

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