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End of H1N1 'Second Wave' in Sight in the U.S., According to Quest Diagnostics
Date:12/18/2009

he only company in the U.S. that both performs testing for H1N1 and also provides 2009 H1N1 laboratory testing kits, developed by its Focus Diagnostics business, that are FDA authorized for emergency use by qualified molecular laboratories. The tests employ real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to qualitatively detect the virus' RNA in a patient's nasal or nasopharyngeal specimens.

Influenza viruses often circulate in waves of activity. The report indicates that two major waves of H1N1 influenza virus activity have affected the U.S., based on the company's test data. The first wave started in early May, following the discovery of the virus in the U.S. in late April. A second wave began in late August and peaked the week ending October 28. Between the weeks ending October 28 and December 9, testing rates fell by 75 percent, and now are roughly equivalent with testing rates experienced when the second wave began.

Other key findings:

  • The number of specimens that tested positive for 2009 H1N1 influenza has declined in all age groups since late October. Children ages five to 14 continue to experience the highest percentage of H1N1 positive test results compared to negative results, with a positivity rate of close to 40 percent. "Our findings suggest that children continue to be most vulnerable to the H1N1 virus," said Dr. Lieberman.
  • Nearly every region experienced declines of 60 percent or more in positive test results during the two weeks ending December 9 compared to the two weeks ending November 25. The most striking decline in positive test results occurred in the region comprised by Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, and the District of Columbia (87 percent decline).
  • The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus remains the predominant cause of influenza in the U.S., as more than 98 percent of positive influenza A specimens are positive for 2009 H1N1 influenza. "Our data provide no
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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