CDC Develops a New, Faster Lab Test for Enterovirus D68
Changes in case counts due to faster testing will not represent a real-time influx of new cases
TUESDAY, Oct. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed and begun using a new, faster lab test for the detection of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in specimens from people in the United States with respiratory illness, according to a news release issued by the organization on Tuesday.
The new test is a "real-time" reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and it identifies all the strains of EV-D68 circulating this summer and fall, according to the release. The new test has fewer and shorter steps, and allows more specimens to be tested at the same time compared to the previous test.
The CDC notes that the new test will allow more rapid testing of remaining specimens received from states since mid-September. Overall, the CDC has tested 1,163 specimens submitted by hospitals and from 45 states since the outbreak began in August. Of the specimens tested by the CDC lab from Aug. 1 to Oct. 10, about half have tested positive for EV-D68, while about one-third have tested positive for a rhinovirus or an enterovirus other than EV-D68.
"As CDC tests the remaining specimens it has received since mid-September, the number of confirmed EV-D68 cases will likely increase substantially in the coming days," according to the news release. "These increases will not reflect changes in real time or mean that the situation is getting worse."