Objective: As a new safe, non-invasive, convenient and efficient biological sample, oral fluid (OF) can be used for virus nucleic acid and antibody detection. Because of few studies on multiple respiratory pathogens surveillance, this study was to explore the application value of OF in this field.
Methods: OF and throat swabs were collected from acute respiratory tract infections in Beijing, from December 2020 to December 2021. Multiplex real-time PCR assay was performed. The detection performance of two samples was compared.
Results: A total of 769 OF and throat swab samples were collected. The detection rates of respiratory pathogens in throat swabs and OF were 29.26% (225/769) and 20.81% (160/769), respectively. Compared with the throat swab, the sensitivity and specificity of the OF assay were 71.11% (160/225) and 100% (544/544), respectively, and the two assays had an excellent agreement (kappa = 0.78). The consistency of different pathogens was different. For OF samples, the most common pathogen was the influenza B virus and the highest detection rate was in the ≤5-year-old group. The highest positive rate was in December 2021.
Conclusion: OF samples have great potential in the epidemiological surveillance of respiratory pathogens and would have application prospects in preventing and controlling infectious diseases.