Survey of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses Diagnostic Testing in US Hospitals, 2012–2013

Su Su; Alicia M. Fry; Pam Daily Kirley; Deborah Aragon; Kimberly Yousey-Hindes; James Meek; Kyle Openo; Oluwakemi Oni; Ruta Sharangpani; Craig Morin; Gary Hollick; Krista Lung; Matt Laidler; Mary Lou Lindegren; William Schaffner; Annette Atkinson; Sandra S. Chaves


Influenza Resp Viruses. 2016;30(2):86-90. 

In This Article


The accuracy of diagnosing influenza virus infections on the basis of symptoms alone is limited, as symptoms from illnesses caused by other respiratory pathogens overlap considerably.[1,2] Early and accurate identification of influenza can reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics and inform treatment decisions regarding the use of influenza antiviral agents.[3,4] Several influenza diagnostic assays are commercially available and include rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs), immunoassays that identify viral antigens in respiratory specimens, and more recently, molecular based assays that detect viral nucleic acid in respiratory specimens.[5] Prior to the 2009 influenza pandemic, the U.S. public health infrastructure's capacity to quickly and accurately detect influenza viruses, including novel influenza A viruses, was established. This capacity was dependent upon building and maintaining molecular diagnostic capacity for influenza viruses among public health laboratories in the United States.[6,7] This greatly strengthened molecular diagnostic capacity for influenza among public health laboratories in the United States. However, less is known about laboratory capacity to routinely diagnose influenza and other respiratory viruses at clinical laboratories and hospitals. Our objective was to describe influenza and other respiratory virus diagnostic practices and routine laboratory testing capacity from a sample of laboratories serving hospitals in the United States.