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Comparison between nasopharyngeal swab and nasal wash, using cluture and PCR, in the detection of potential repiratory pathogens

Gritzfeld, Jenna, Roberts, Paul, Roche, Lorna, El Batrawy, Sherouk and Gordon, Stephen ORCID: (2011) 'Comparison between nasopharyngeal swab and nasal wash, using cluture and PCR, in the detection of potential repiratory pathogens'. BMC Research Notes, Vol 4, Issue 122, pp. 1-5.

Gritzfeld_2011_Comparison_between_NPS_and_NW_using_culture_and_PCR_in_the_detection_of_potential_respiratory_pathogens_(2).pdf - Published Version

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Background: Nasopharyngeal carriage of potential pathogens is important as it is both the major source of
transmission and the prerequisite of invasive disease. New methods for detecting carriage could improve comfort,
accuracy and laboratory utility. The aims of this study were to compare the sensitivities of a nasopharyngeal swab
(NPS) and a nasal wash (NW) in detecting potential respiratory pathogens in healthy adults using icrobiological
culture and PCR.
Results: Healthy volunteers attended for nasal washing and brushing of the posterior nasopharynx. Conventional
and real-time PCR were used to detect pneumococcus and meningococcus. Statistical differences between the
two nasal sampling methods were determined using a nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test; differences between
culture and PCR methods were determined using the McNemar test. Nasal washing was more comfortable for volunteers than swabbing (n = 24). In detection by culture, the NW was
significantly more likely to detect pathogens than the NPS (p < 0.00001). Overall, there was a low carriage rate of
pathogens in this sample; no significant difference was seen in the detection of bacteria between culture and PCR
Conclusions: Nasal washing and PCR may provide effective alternatives to nasopharyngeal swabbing and classical
microbiology, respectively.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:
Subjects: WF Respiratory System > WF 140 Diseases of the respiratory system (General)
WF Respiratory System > WF 20 Research (General)
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Users 43 not found.
Date Deposited: 16 May 2011 14:58
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2022 09:41


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