A total of 316 samples of nasopharyngeal aspirate from infants up to two years of age with acute respiratory-tract illnesses were processed for detection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) using three different techniques: viral isolation, direct immunofluorescence, and PCR. Of the samples, 36 (11.4%) were positive for RSV, considering the three techniques. PCR was the most sensitive technique, providing positive findings in 35/316 (11.1%) of the samples, followed by direct immunofluorescence (25/316, 7.9%) and viral isolation (20/315, 6.3%) (p < 0.001). A sample was positive by immunofluorescence and negative by PCR, and 11 (31.4%) were positive only by RT-PCR. We conclude that RT-PCR is more sensitive than IF and viral isolation to detect RSV in nasopharyngeal aspirate specimens in newborn and infants.
Respiratory syncytial virus; Infants; Diagnosis; Cell culture; Polymerase chain reaction; Immunofluorescence