IDSA Updates Guidelines on Flu Diagnosis and Response

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The guidelines recommend using molecular tests that deliver results in 15-60 minutes instead of rapid-influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs), which produce quick results but can be falsely negative in at least 30% of outpatients with influenza.

Outpatients who have been diagnosed with influenza and are at high risk for complications, particularly pregnant women and the extremely obese, should be provided antiviral treatment as soon as possible, note updated seasonal influenza guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

The guidelines recommend using molecular tests that deliver results in 15-60 minutes instead of rapid-influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs), which produce quick results but can be falsely negative in at least 30% of outpatients with influenza. While antiviral treatment is recommended within 2 days after the start of flu symptoms in people who aren’t at high risk for complications, the guidelines note they should be prescribed to those at high risk even if they have been sick for more than 2 days.

Others in the high-risk category include: young children (especially those younger than 2 years old); women who have recently given birth; those with a weakened immune system due to disease or medication; people younger than 19 years old who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy; those with chronic medical conditions including asthma, neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders (such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy and stroke), heart or lung disease, kidney, liver or metabolic disorders; and nursing home residents; American Indians and native Alaskans.

“Influenza can be serious, especially for the sizable group of people at high risk,” Timothy M. Uyeki, MD, MPH, MPP, cochair of the guidelines committee and chief medical officer of the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory at the CDC said in a press release. “Annual influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza, but it is not 100% effective. Those at high risk need to be encouraged to seek medical care right away if they develop influenza symptoms during influenza season.”

The full guidelines are available free here.

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