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The sensitivity and specificity of four real-time PCR assays (HPA A(H1)v, CDC A (H1)v, HPA A(N1)v and NVRL S-OIV assays) was evaluated for detection of influenza A(H1N1)v viruses. Nose and throat swab samples containing influenza A(H1N1)v viruses, seasonal influenza AH3N2, AH1N1, influenza B viruses, or negative for influenza viruses were tested by the four assays. Specificity was also analysed using influenza A viruses of different subtypes and non-related respiratory viruses. The sensitivities and specificities of the four assays were in a similar range and suitable for diagnostic use. The HPA (H1)v and the S-OIV assays were the most sensitive assays for use as a first line test, but the S-OIV assay was less specific, detecting all avian subtypes of influenza A viruses tested. The results of this study demonstrate that the concurrent use of primary diagnostic and confirmatory assays provides rapid and accurate assessment of confirmed cases, and allows appropriate management of patients.


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