Many lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) are caused by organisms that do not require antibiotics or could be safely treated with narrow-spectrum antibiotics.
Reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics, particularly broad-spectrum agents, could reduce costs and side effects and delay the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.
Various point-of-care tests are becoming available to help clinicians identify the cause of LRTIs at the time of consultation.
Point-of-care tests can be used to diagnose influenza, pneumococcal infections, Legionella and respiratory syncytial virus infections, thus allowing early decisions to be made on appropriate management.
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