Blog | Tuesday, January 28, 2014

QD: News Every Day--CDC tells doctors to avoid basing flu decisions on rapid results tests

Physicians should rely on neither test results nor laboratory confirmation of influenza to make decisions about starting antiviral treatment, the CDC advised.

Rapid influenza diagnostic tests have low sensitivities, generally 40 to 70% (range 10 to 80%), and high specificities of 90 to 95% (range 85 to 100%), agency physicians said at a press conference.

The agency cautioned physicians that a negative rapid flu test result does not exclude a diagnosis of influenza and should not be used to make treatment or infection control decisions. Instead, when there is clinical suspicion of influenza and antiviral treatment is indicated, antiviral treatment and appropriate infection control strategies should be started as soon as possible.