Influenza Virus

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an acute viral infection that is highly transmissible and leads to outbreaks of varying severity during the winter in temperate regions. The 2017-2018 influenza season, for example, resulted in more than 48 million illnesses and 79,000 deaths and was more severe than any other flu season since the 2009 influenza pandemic.  Although the flu is generally self-limited and uncomplicated in healthy persons, populations at risk include infants, the elderly, immunocompromised persons, and pregnant women.  

Influenza virus testing is not required to make a clinical diagnosis in the outpatient setting, particularly during flu season. However, testing should be considered if the result will inform clinical decisions (eg, whether to begin antiviral treatment).   Near-point-of-care testing using a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared molecular methodology is preferable to other methodologies in outpatient settings due to its rapid results and reasonably high sensitivity.  

Tabs Content
Content Review: 
July 2019

Last Update: November 2019