How is a clinical diagnosis of influenza confirmed?

Updated: Apr 23, 2019
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The criterion standard for confirming influenza virus infection is reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing or viral culture of nasopharyngeal or throat secretions. However, culture may require 3-7 days, yielding results long after the patient has left the clinic, office, or emergency department and well past the time when drug therapy could be efficacious.


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