Objective: To compare the effectiveness of self-collected and health care worker (HCW)-collected nasal swabs for detection of influenza viruses and determine the patients' preference for type of collection.
Patients and methods: We enrolled adult patients presenting with influenzalike illness to the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, from January 28, 2011, through April 30, 2011. Patients self-collected a midturbinate nasal flocked swab from their right nostril following written instructions. A second swab was then collected by an HCW from the left nostril. Swabs were tested for influenza A and B viruses by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and percent concordance between collection methods was determined.
Results: Of the 72 paired specimens analyzed, 25 were positive for influenza A or B RNA by at least one of the collection methods (34.7% positivity rate). When the 14 patients who had prior health care training were excluded, the qualitative agreement between collection methods was 94.8% (55 of 58). Two of the 58 specimens (3.4%) from patients without health care training were positive only by HCW collection, and 1 of 58 (1.7%) was positive only by patient self-collection. A total of 53.4% of patients (31 of 58) preferred the self-collection method over the HCW collection, and 25.9% (15 of 58) had no preference.
Conclusion: Self-collected midturbinate nasal swabs provide a reliable alternative to HCW collection for influenza A and B virus real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
Copyright © 2012 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.