Rapid diagnostic tests for influenza

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In recent years, seven rapid tests for influenza have become commercially available. These tests offer the promise of making rapid influenza diagnosis much more widely available than in the past, when rapid diagnosis could be made only by fluorescent antibody staining, a demanding technique available only in advanced laboratories. Two of the rapid tests have waived status under the Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments of 1988. This article describes each of the seven tests and reviews English-language publications that have evaluated the performance of these tests on specimens from children. A discussion of the implications of the tests for clinical decision-making is included.

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