Clinicians are not able to accurately diagnose influenza based on signs and symptoms alone. There are many other viruses that infect the respiratory tract and there is a large overlap of symptoms among these infections. Diagnostic tests performed on specimens taken from the respiratory tract provide a useful aid to the diagnosis of influenza.
Rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDTs), such as lateral flow tests, can be performed at the site of patient care such as the physicians’ office or emergency department. These tests offer the possibility of identifying an infected patient early in the course of the disease and during the patient’s visit to the health care facility. Early diagnosis at the point-of-care can have a positive impact on the efficacy of therapy and other clinical management decisions.