The role of viruses in Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) has been largely underestimated in the pre-COVID-19 age. However, during flu seasonal early identification of viral infection in CAP is crucial to guide treatment and in-hospital management. Though recommended, the routine use of Nasopharyngeal Swab (NPS) to detect viral infection has been poorly scaled-up, especially in the Emergency Department (ED). This study sought to assess the prevalence and associated clinical outcomes of viral infections in patients with CAP during peak flu season.
In this retrospective, observational study adults presenting at the ED of our hospital (Rome, Italy) with CAP from January 15 to February 22 2019 were enrolled. Each patient was tested on admission with Influenza rapid test and Real Time Multiplex Assay.
75 consecutive patients were enrolled. 30.7% (n=23) tested positive for viral infection. Of these, 52.1% (n=12) were H1N1/FluA. 10 patients had multiple virus co-infections. CAP with viral infection did not differ for any demographic, clinic and laboratory features by the exception of CCI and CURB-65. All intra-ED deaths and mechanical ventilations were recorded among CAP with viral infection. Testing only patients with CURB-65 score >/=2, 10 out of 12 cases of H1N1/FluA would have been detected saving up to 40% tests.
Viral infection occurred in one third of CAP during flu seasonal peak 2019. Since not otherwise distinguishable, NPS is so far the only reliable mean to identify CAP with viral infection. Testing only patients with moderate/severe CAP significantly minimize the number of tests. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.