The Directigen FLU-A enzyme immunoassay was tested for its ability to detect equine-2 influenza viruses in nasopharyngeal fluids from horses and ponies. A total of 125 swabs from experimental infections and from different sources of natural infection in the USA and Hong Kong were examined. The assay results were compared with the results of standard virus culture in embryonated chicken eggs or Madin-Darby canine kidney cells, and with the serology of the horses sampled. In comparison with virus culture the enzyme immunoassay exhibited 83 per cent sensitivity, 78 per cent specificity, 70 per cent positive predictive value and 88 per cent negative predictive value. The test appeared to be more sensitive than haemagglutination for the detection of low levels of virus in embryonated egg cultures. It also detected equine-1 influenza virus in culture. The test is rapid (15 minutes), simple, and should be a convenient method for the rapid diagnosis and screening of horses for equine influenza infection.
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