Comparison of nasopharyngeal nylon flocked swabs with universal transport medium and rayonbud swabs with a sponge reservoir of viral transport medium in the diagnosis of paediatric influenza

This study compared a kit containing a nasopharyngeal nylon flocked swab and a tube with a liquid universal transport medium (UTM) with a kit containing a plastic-shafted rayon-budded swab with a sponge reservoir of viral transport medium for the molecular detection of influenza viruses in children. Respiratory samples were collected from 314 children aged ,5 years with influenza-like illness (186 males; mean age 2.32±2.27 years) using both swabs in a randomized sequence for each patient. The flocked swabs permitted the detection of 28 influenza A (8.9 %) and 45 influenza B (14.3 %) cases, and the rayon-bud swabs 26 influenza A (8.3 %) and 43 influenza B (13.7 %) cases, with detection rates of 23.2 and 22.0 %, respectively, and similar cycle threshold values. Paediatricians and laboratory staff were significantly more satisfied with both the simplicity (P ,0.0001) and rapidity (P ,0.0001) of the nasopharyngeal flocked swabs with UTM. These findings show that the flocked swabs with UTM® and the rayon-bud swabs with a sponge transport medium are similarly efficient in preserving influenza virus nucleic acid, but that the kit containing a flocked swab with a UTM allows easier and more rapid collection and processing of specimens.

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