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.