P167 Screening for viral upper respiratory tract infection in pulmonary exacerbations in cystic fibrosis

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Introduction and objectives

It is unclear if respiratory viruses are important in precipitating pulmonary exacerbations in adults. Respiratory viruses are considered important pathogens in children with cystic fibrosis (CF), as they may be associated with deterioration in lung function and bacterial infection.12 Following the “flu” pandemic in 2009 we have started screening CF patients for viral upper respiratory tract infection for infection control. Our aim was to determine if adult CF patients admitted with a pulmonary exacerbation had positive nasopharyngeal swabs suggesting a viral aetiology.


Retrospective review of admissions to an adult CF unit between May 2009 and May 2011 to identify those who had nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) for the molecular detection (PCR) of viruses in the nasopharyngeal tract. Data were collected from the hospitals' computer information system. Continuous variables are described as median averages (IQR), and categorical variables as counts.


365 admissions were identified during this period (93 patients). 299 admissions were due to pulmonary exacerbation. A NPS was performed on 211 admissions (174 due to pulmonary exacerbation). Characteristics of patients that had NPS on admission are listed in Abstract P167 table 1. Only 5 (2.9%) NPS detected upper respiratory tract viruses in patients with a pulmonary exacerbation. Influenza A [H1N1] and Parainfluenzae were detected in three and two NPS respectively.


Viral infection, detected by NPS, is not common in adult CF patients admitted to our hospital with or without pulmonary exacerbations. Screening all adult patients with CF admitted to hospital for the presence of viruses in the upper respiratory tract has a low yield and is not recommended.

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