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


All hospitals and their associated laboratories (at hospital and external contracting laboratories) participating in the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) were included in this evaluation.[8,9] The network covers more than 80 counties in 15 states, CA, CO, CT, GA, MD, MN, NM, NY, OR, TN, IA, MI, OH, RI, and UT, with a catchment population of ~28 million people. The surveillance is based on identification of positive laboratory results for influenza. However, whether or not a hospitalized patient is tested for influenza is dependent upon the clinical practices of the team caring for each individual patient. During 2012–2013, participating hospital laboratories were asked to voluntarily send influenza A specimens to state public health laboratories for subtyping. Some network sites also asked hospital laboratories to send RIDT-negative specimens to public health laboratories to improve case numbers.

During the 2012–2013 influenza season (October–April), we administered a standardized questionnaire to key personnel at each hospital through telephone interviews. The first part of the questionnaire, administered to infection control practitioners, assessed characteristics of hospitals, policies in place for testing patients with acute respiratory illness at the emergency department (ED), and availability of influenza point-of-care (POC) tests which are designed to be used at or near site where the patient is located and allows timely diagnosis. The second part of the questionnaire, administered to the head of laboratory departments or their designees, collected information on diagnostic capacity for influenza and other respiratory viruses in the laboratories. Questions included type of laboratory tests available, specimen type acceptable for testing, turnaround time for molecular diagnostic tests, and testing algorithm for confirmation of initial results. We compared laboratory capacity for influenza testing with results collected from a similar survey conducted in a subset of the current network sites (CA, CO, CT, GA, MD, MN, NM, NY, OR, TN) during pre-pandemic era (in 2006–2007 influenza season) (S.C. Chaves, unpublished) using chi-square test. The analyses were performed in SAS 9.3 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA).