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Rapid Flu Test Work Better in Kids than in Adults

2/15/2010

A rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT) can provide a diagnosis of flu within 30 minutes – speeding the delivery of antiviral medication if needed – but studies have shown these tests often give false negative results. A new study, “Sensitivity of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Testing for Swine-Origin 2009 A (H1N1) Influenza Virus in Children,” published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online February 15), examined RIDTs in a large pediatric cohort and found the tests may be more effective at diagnosing influenza in children than in adults. A total of 820 children with influenza-like illness were tested for respiratory viruses over two flu seasons – 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

Study authors found RIDTs were more sensitive in children ages 5 and younger and in patients who were tested within 2 days of symptom onset. The authors suggest that RIDTs may have a role in diagnosing 2009 H1N1 influenza in this population, who are more likely to develop influenza-related complications, more likely to transmit influenza, and more likely to benefit from antiviral therapy.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.