A multiplex reverse transcription-PCR-enzyme hybridization assay (RT-PCR-EHA; Hexaplex; Prodesse Inc., Waukesha, Wis.) was used for the simultaneous detection of human parainfluenza virus types 1, 2, and 3, influenza virus types A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus types A and B. One hundred forty-three respiratory specimens from 126 patients were analyzed by RT-PCR-EHA, and the results were compared to those obtained by conventional viral culture and immunofluorescence (IF) methods. RT-PCR-EHA proved to be positive for 17 of 143 (11.9%) specimens, whereas 8 of 143 (5.6%) samples were positive by viral culture and/or IF. Eight samples were positive by both RT-PCR-EHA and conventional methods, while nine samples were RT-PCR-EHA positive and viral culture and IF negative. Eight of the nine samples with discordant results were then independently tested by a different multiplex RT-PCR assay for influenza virus types A and B, and all eight proved to be positive. In comparison to viral culture and IF methods, RT-PCR-EHA gave a sensitivity and a specificity of 100 and 93%, respectively. Since RT-PCR-EHA was able to detect more positive samples, which would otherwise have been missed by routine methods, we suggest that this multiplex RT-PCR-EHA provides a highly sensitive and specific means of diagnostic detection of major respiratory viruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)