Respiratory syncytial virus outbreak in a long-term care facility detected using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction: An argument for real-time detection methods

L. Brett Caram, Jodi Chen, E. William Taggart, David R. Hillyard, Rosemary She, Christopher R Polage, Jack Twersky, Kenneth Schmader, Cathy A. Petti, Christopher W. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To report an outbreak of respiratory synctyial virus (RSV) in a long-term care facility (LTCF) during ongoing routine respiratory illness surveillance. DESIGN: Rapid antigen testing, viral culture, direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) testing, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for up to 15 viruses in symptomatic residents and chart review. SETTING: A 120-bed LTCF. MEASUREMENTS: Comparison of rapid antigen testing, respiratory viral cultures, and DFA testing and RT-PCR in residents with symptoms of a respiratory tract infection. RESULTS: Twenty-two of 52 residents developed symptoms of a respiratory tract infection between January 29, 2008, and February 26, 2008. RSV was detected using RT-PCR in seven (32%) of the 22 cases. None of the seven cases had positive RSV rapid antigen testing, and only two had positive culture or DFA results. This outbreak occurred during a time when state wide RSV rates were rapidly declining. One patient was admitted to the hospital during the infection and subsequently died. CONCLUSION: RSV may cause outbreaks in LTCFs that traditional diagnostic methods do not detect. RT-PCR can provide a more timely and accurate diagnosis of outbreaks, which allows for early symptomatic treatment, rational use of antibiotics, and improved infection control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-485
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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