Respiratory Pathogen Molecular Panel Testing

Preferred test to confirm respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A, or influenza B in general inpatients and RSV in adults.

  • Preferred test for evaluating severely immunocompromised (eg, BMT) or critically ill (ICU) patients with respiratory symptoms.
  • Test detects influenza A, influenza B, RSV, human metapneumovirus, human rhinovirus, and adenovirus.
  • Detects and differentiates parainfluenza 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Related Tests
  • Follow-up test for patients with documented influenza A.
  • Not a first-line test for the detection of suspected influenza in most clinical situations.
  • Detect and subtype the two predominant strains of circulating influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2).

Detect and differentiate parainfluenza types 1-4.

Viral respiratory tract infections are the most common diseases affecting humans worldwide. Respiratory viruses can be associated with both self-limiting upper respiratory tract infections (eg, the common cold) and more severe lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) (eg, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonitis, pneumonia). LRTIs are a major cause of hospitalization, morbidity, and mortality in infants and the elderly and are associated with significant disease burden.

Disease Overview


  • Viral infections cause ~80% of respiratory tract disease; mixed infections account for ~20 percent infection in adults, 60% in children
  • Symptomatic disease varies by viral type and patient age
    • Highest rates occur in young and elderly populations with widely varying outcomes
  • Seasonal influenza causes a large proportion of viral respiratory disease
    • Median incidence of ~8% in U.S. 2010 to 2016


Symptoms general occur within 1-3 days of exposure and last 7-14 days.

Location Symptoms
Upper respiratory infections

Nasal congestion



Sore throat




Decreased appetitea


Lower respiratory infectionsb

Worsening cough

Shortness of breath

Focal pain



aEspecially in children

bOverlap with upper infection

cOlder adults

Test Interpretation


Negative result

  • Does not rule out the presence of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inhibitors in patient specimen
  • Does not detect assay-specific nucleic acid in concentrations below level of detection by assay
  1. 25714161

    Jain S

    Williams DJ

    Arnold SR

    Ampofo K

    Bramley AM

    Reed C

    Stockmann C

    Anderson EJ

    Grijalva CG

    Self WH

    Zhu Y

    Patel A

    Hymas W

    Chappell JD

    Kaufman RA

    Kan H

    Dansie D

    Lenny N

    Hillyard DR

    Haynes LM

    Levine M

    Lindstrom S

    Winchell JM

    Katz JM

    Erdman D

    Schneider E

    Hicks LA

    Wunderink RG

    Edwards KM

    Pavia AT

    McCullers JA

    Finelli L

    CDC EPIC Study Team

    N Engl J Med