A comparison of immunofluorescent tests for the diagnosis of respiratory syncytial (RS) virus infections was carried out on 42 hospitalized cases of respiratory infection in childhood. Respiratory syncytial virus was detected in 22 (52%) cases, the most sensitive method of detection being by indirect immunofluorescence of Bristol HeLa tissue cultures inoculated with nasopharyngeal aspirates. The highest detection rate was in bronchiolitis cases (92%). Detection of antibody rises in paired sera, eight days apart, confirmed RS virus infection in 13 of 16 cases, the most sensitive test being detection of a specific rise in IgG antibody by indirect immunofluorescence. A serodiagnosis was made in all 10 non-bronchiolitis cases. Recommendations are made for the application ofimmunofluorescence to routine diagnosis of RS virus infection.
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