The Value of Syndromic Respiratory Testing in Outpatient Settings

A 41-year-old female with an unremarkable medical history enters the ED complaining of fatigue. She’s been feeling this way for four days and suspects that she may have been exposed to COVID-19. Upon completing her physical, clinicians get the impression that she may, indeed, be infected with a virus, potentially even COVID-19.

However, after running the BIOFIRE® Respiratory 2.1 Panel, the doctors confirm that the patient has an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), but also that the infection is bacterial rather than viral in nature. Specifically, the pathogen is Bordetella pertussis, which is commonly associated with the highly contagious whooping cough.

The patient is given the appropriate antibiotic treatment and makes a full recovery. But what might have happened if the ED doctors went off their initial impression of viral infection?