Skip to main content

Using influenza rapid test positivity as an early indicator for the onset of seasonal influenza


Influenza causes significant morbidity and mortality, with attendant costs of roughly $10 billion for treatment and up to $77 billion in indirect costs annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts annual influenza surveillance, and includes measures of inpatient and outpatient influenza-related activity, disease severity, and geographic spread. However, inherent lags in the current methods used for data collection and transmission result in a one to two weeks delay in notification of an outbreak via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Early notification might facilitate clinical decision-making when patients present with acute respiratory infection during the early stages of the influenza outbreak.

In the United States, the influenza surveillance season typically begins in October and continues through May. The Utah Health Research Network has participated in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza surveillance since 2002, collecting data on outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI, defined as fever of 100F or higher with either cough or sore throat). Over time, Utah Health Research Network has moved from data collection by hand to automated data collection that extracts information from discrete fields in patients’ electronic health records.

We used statistical process control to generate surveillance graphs of ILI and positive rapid influenza tests, using data available electronically from the electronic health records.


The objective of this study is to describe the use of point-ofcare rapid influenza testing in an outpatient, setting for the identification of the onset of influenza in the community

Submitted by teresa.hamby@d… on