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Respiratory Pathogen Tests

Respiratory infections are caused by viral, bacterial, or microbial pathogens that infect the respiratory system. The respiratory system is split into the upper respiratory tract and the lower respiratory tract. The upper tract includes: the sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx, and the larynx. The lower tract includes: the trachea, lungs, and bronchioles. Majority of respiratory infections affect the upper respiratory tract and are caused by viral pathogens.

Viral pathogens are infectious and spread via droplets released from coughing, sneezing and talking. Viral respiratory pathogens include, parainfluenza virus, influenza, mumps, COVID-19, syncytial virus, rhinovirus, adenovirus, MERS coronavirus and other coronaviruses, the most common being the rhinovirus.

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Respiratory Pathogen Tests

Infection can occur by inhaling these droplets or by touching the nose or mouth with something exposed to the virus (e.g., hand or eating utensil). Common symptoms of respiratory infections include runny nose, sore throat, coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing.

Most respiratory infections of the upper respiratory tract are not fatal, but some are more serious than others. For instance, some infections that start in the upper tract can spread into the lower tract, causing further complications. Upper respiratory infections are one of the top 3 diagnoses for outpatient visits. SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, can migrate to infect the lower respiratory tract and cause pneumonia. Since the symptoms between different infections are often the same, testing for the specific respiratory pathogen involved is needed to determine the next step to take.

While most respiratory infections have no formal treatment options, the pathogen responsible for the infection and the severity of the infection will dictate whether further action is necessary.

GED now offers a test that screens for the following 10 pathogens:

  1. Covid-19
  2. Coronavirus 229E/NL63
  3. Coronavirus OC43/HKUI
  4. MERS-CoVe
  5. Sarbeco virus
  6. Adenovirus A/B/C/D/E
  7. Enterovirus A/B/C
  8. Influenza A
  9. Influenza B
  10. Rhinovirus A/B

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