ISSN - 0973-0958
Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests - Indications, Clinical Implications and Usefulness
Ernest Kuchar1, Damian Okrucinski1, Aneta Nitsch-Osuch2.
1Department of Pediatrics with Clinical Assessment Unit, Poland, 2Department of Family Medicine Medical University of Warsaw, Poland.

Influenza is a common, acute infectious disease causing seasonal epidemics. The clinical diagnosis of influenza is mainly based on the presence of non-specific influenza-like symptoms and the knowledge regarding prevalence of influenza viruses in a population. To improve accuracy of the clinical diagnosis of influenza, more sensitive laboratory test should be conducted, including real time RT-PCR method and rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs). RT-PCR method is recommended, but is expensive, time consuming and not always available. RIDTs are more accessible and usually are office-based, however their results should be interpreted carefully. Many factors may influence the RIDT results - patient age, duration of symptoms and the type of specimen. In the epidemic season positive results of RIDT confirm the presumptive diagnosis of influenza while negative results do not exclude it. Regardless of RIDTs' limitations, they may be used both in hospital and ambulatory care settings to guide treatment decisions and rationalize the use of antivirals (neuraminidase inhibitors).
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