Influenza (Flu) Tests

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Also known as: Flu PCR; rapid flu test; flu antigen test; flu subtyping
Formal name: Influenza nucleic acid amplification test; influenza polymerase chain reaction; rapid influenza antigen test; influenza point of care test; influenza A and B culture; influenza direct immunofluorescence test; influenza A subtype-specific PCR

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To determine whether or not you have an influenza infection; to help doctor make treatment decisions; to help determine whether or not the flu has spread to your community; to identify the type or strain of flu virus that you have; to monitor the strains of flu virus circulating in the community

When to Get Tested?

If your doctor wants to determine whether your flu-like symptoms are due to flu, another virus, or other causes. Usually only patients with severe infection are tested. When influenza is at a high level in the community, doctors will often diagnose respiratory infections as influenza based on symptoms, without taking a sample to test.

Sample Required?

Usually a nose/throat swab or a nasopharyngeal aspirate

Test Preparation Needed?

None