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.

American Academy of Pediatrics

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