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Laboratory Diagnosis

Lab technician with sampleInfection with human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) can be confirmed by—

  • direct detection of viral genome by polymerase chain reaction assay;
  • direct detection of viral antigens in respiratory secretions (collected within 1 week of symptom onset) using immunofluorescence or enzyme immunoassay;
  • isolation and identification of the virus in cell culture; or
  • demonstration of a significant rise in HPIV-specific IgG antibodies between appropriately collected paired serum specimens or specific IgM antibodies in a single serum specimen.

Healthcare providers usually do not order laboratory testing for HPIVs for routine clinical care of patients with respiratory illness because there are no specific treatments for HPIV illness.

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