Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Rapid Flu Tests a Good First Step: Study

Rapid Flu Tests a Good First Step: Study

02/27/12

MONDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Rapid diagnostic influenza tests provide an accurate diagnosis, and their use during flu season could lead to earlier treatment for patients and help prevent the spread of the illness, two new studies suggest.

The 2012 flu season is just beginning and, despite the late start, is expected to sicken up to 5 million people worldwide, experts say. Most patients will recover, but up to 500,000 will die, with the youngest and oldest patients most vulnerable.

The two studies, published online in the Feb. 28 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, highlight the importance of prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Viral cultures are accurate in diagnosing flu but can take up to 10 days to provide results. Newer reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests provide results much sooner but are expensive and require specialized equipment.

Rapid influenza diagnostic tests, which are inexpensive and easy to use in a doctor's office, are another option, but little was known about their accuracy.

In one study, researchers reviewed 159 published articles and found that rapid influenza diagnostic tests accurately diagnose flu, but are less accurate at ruling it out. This means that patients with a negative result would require follow-up testing with a viral culture or RT-PCR, the researchers said in a journal news release.

They said their results suggest that rapid diagnostic tests would be useful in clinical practice, especially when treating children and other patients at risk for flu-related complications. This includes people over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions such as asthma.

For patients diagnosed with flu, doctors may decide to begin treatment with antiviral drugs.

In the second study, researchers reviewed 74 published studies and found that early treatment with antiviral drugs (within 48 hours) may confer more benefits than later treatment.

The researchers tested four commonly prescribed antivirals, and said oral oseltamivir and inhaled zanamivir appeared to shorten duration of flu symptoms compared to no treatment.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about seasonal flu.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital Appoints Chief Information Officer
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >