Respiratory infections are caused by a vast number of pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Many of these have nonspecific symptoms and do not have a final diagnosis in resource-limited settings—due to either economic reasons or lack of diagnostic facilities. A good understanding of the tests available would be of immense help, especially in critically ill patients in whom knowing the exact causative organism is mandatory to shift from empirical treatment to a more specific treatment plan. There are even rapid test formats which have good sensitivity for common respiratory infections encountered in outpatient set-up.
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