Aetiology of respiratory tract infections: Clinical assessment versus serological tests

D. Lieberman, P. Shvartzman, I. Korsonsky, D. Lieberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Two hundred and fifty ambulatory patients with febrile respiratory tract infections were included in a prospective study, aimed at determining the reliability of physicians' judgements relating to the aetiology of the infection. Compared with advanced serological testing, physicians' judgements for a bacterial/atypical, rather than viral, aetiology had a negative predictive value of 60% and a positive predictive value of only 50%. We conclude that physicians' ability to assess whether the infectious aetiology of RTI is viral or bacterial/atypical is low and no more reliable than tossing a coin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1000
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number473
StatePublished - 27 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Aetiology
  • Clinical skill
  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Serological testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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