Infectious Diseases & Toxins

Respiratory Infections

The respiratory tract is a complex arrangement of organs and tissues that are prone to developing a range of infections. A wide number of organisms can infect the respiratory tract including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, and over a dozen pathogens are commonly encountered in a clinical setting. Infections are generally classified into two types, an upper respiratory tract infection (UTI) or lower respiratory tract infection (LRI). LRIs are generally more serious than UTIs, accounting for the majority of infectious disease-related deaths worldwide. Young children, the elderly, and patients with compromised cardiac, pulmonary, or immune systems are at greatest risk for serious disease by respiratory pathogens. In children, 15% - 25% of pneumonias are caused by RSV, 15% by parainfluenza virus, and 7% - 9% by adenovirus. RSV infection is the most frequent cause of hospitalization in children under 5 years of age. In the elderly, respiratory viral infections cause up to 26% of hospital admissions for community-acquired pneumonia. Early detection is critically important both to improve individual patient outcomes and to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. It has been suggested that rapid testing for respiratory viruses, if established as the standard of care,

could substantially lower health care costs and potentially save lives. Due to a deeper understanding of the unique immunodominant regions in the infectious organisms, significant improvements in sensitivity and specificity have been achieved in commercial enzyme based

immunoassays (EIAs). These tests offer several advantages over other assay types such as molecular testing, since they are easier to administer, and provide a quicker turn-around time. Numerous studies have demonstrated the improved sensitivity and specificity, broader pathogen coverage, and shortened turn-around time for these tests as compared to standard methods.


Powered by