Bird flu confirmation tests risk treatment delays

Two new studies on bird flu outbreak have concluded that delays caused by standard avian influenza testing can cause dangerous delays in treatment.

The studies, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, focused on family clusters of bird flu cases in Turkey and Indonesia.
According to the researchers, detecting the virus using standard tests is so difficult and time-consuming that delays could be dangerous for patients incorrectly diagnosed.
The reports found that rapid tests on nose and throat swabs failed every time, and in Turkey, so did all follow-up tests known as ELISAs.
The only tests that consistently worked were polymerase chain reaction tests, or PCRs, which can be done only in advanced laboratories and take several hours.
Dr Anne Moscona, a professor of pediatrics and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, was quoted as saying, "It'll be a disaster if we have to use PCRs for everybody. It just isn't available at a whole lot of places."
If the H5N1 flu mutates into a pandemic strain, rapid tests “will be really key”.

Editor WorldPoultry

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