What is the role of serologies in the workup of viral pneumonia?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Almost all viral infections can be diagnosed via paired acute/convalescent serologies (usually measured by complement fixation or enzyme immunoassay [EIA]). Because many of these viruses are ubiquitous, this method ideally requires a four-fold rise in titers.

Because, by definition, this technique requires blood to be drawn in the convalescent phase, it is not as useful in the acute management of the patient, unless enough time has elapsed such that the acute draw might represent the convalescent titer. In this situation, one high titer may give the diagnosis.

Serologies are particularly useful for definitively confirming the diagnosis, especially the positive results of other diagnostic tests.

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