Laboratory tests in adult outpatients with longer lasting coughs to identify a potential causal pathogen are rarely performed, and there is no gold standard for these diagnostic tests. While the diagnostic validity of serological tests for pertussis is well established their potential contribution for diagnosing adenovirus and influenza virus A and B infections is unclear. A sentinel study into the population-based incidence of longer lasting coughs in adults was done in Rostock (former East Germany) and Krefeld (former West Germany). A total of 971 outpatients who consulted general practitioners or internists were included. Inclusion criteria were coughing for ⩾1 week and no chronic respiratory diseases. We evaluated the performance of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as well as IgG and IgA serology, applying a latent class model for diagnosing infections with adenovirus, B. pertussis, and influenza virus A and B. The adult outpatients first sought medical attention when they had been coughing for a median of 3 weeks. In this situation, direct detection of infectious agents by PCR had a low sensitivity. Modelling showed that additional serological tests equally improved sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis for adenovirus, B. pertussis and influenza virus A and B infections. The combination of serology and PCR may improve the overall performance of diagnostic tests for B. pertussis and also for adenovirus, and influenza virus A and B infections.
Authors:Sobotzki C1, Riffelmann M2, Kennerknecht N3, Hülsse C4, Littmann M4, White A5, VON Kries R1, Wirsing VON König CH2.
Journal:Epidemiol Infect. 2015