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Rapid Flu Test Work Better in Kids than in Adults


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.


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