This study describes the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 co-infection with noncoronavirus respiratory pathogens in a sample of symptomatic patients undergoing PCR testing in March 2020. The results suggest that routine testing for non–SARS-CoV-2 respiratory pathogens during the COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to provide clinical benefit unless a positive result would change disease management (eg, neuraminidase inhibitors for influenza in appropriate patients).
The authors performed real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens on nasopharyngeal swabs of symptomatic patients (eg, cough, fever, dyspnea) from March 3 through 25, 2020 from multiple sites in northern California. They calculated the proportions of specimens positive for SARS-CoV-2 and for each non–SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, stratified by SARS-CoV-2 infection status.
They included 1217 specimens tested for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens from 1206 unique patients; 116 of the 1217 specimens (9.5%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 318 (26.1%) were positive for 1 or more non–SARS-CoV-2 pathogens.
Results suggest higher rates of co-infection between SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens than previously reported, with no significant difference in rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with and without other pathogens.