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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared a new test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to diagnose human influenza infections and the highly pathogenic influenza A (H5N1) viruses. The device, called the Human Influenza Virus Real-Time RT-PCR Detection and Characterization Panel (rRT-PCR Flu Panel), uses a molecular biology technique to detect flu virus and differentiate between seasonal and novel influenza. The device is used to isolate and amplify viral genetic material present in secretions taken from a patient's nose or throat. The viral genetic material is labeled with fluorescent molecules, which are then detected and analyzed by a diagnostic instrument called the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx, also cleared by the FDA for diagnostic use simultaneously with the CDC's rRT-PCR Flu Panel. The test panel and diagnostic system can detect and identify commonly circulating human influenza viruses as well as influenza A (H5N1) viruses. Results can be available within four hours and the system can test multiple samples at once.
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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released an overview of state reporting programs and hospital initiatives to reduce health care associated infections in hospitals.
MMWR Articles of Interest
October 10, 2008 / 57(40);1097-1100
October 3, 2008 / 57(SS10);1-9