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INFLU A-B W-SUBTYP

Also known as

Influenza test, Rapid Flu Test, Influenza Rapid Antigen Test, Type A, and B Antigen Detection, H1N1, Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test, Influenza Viral Culture, Influenza Virus by PCR

This test is used to identify if you have an influenza infection, particularly if you have been hospitalized or have a weak immune system. Moreover, if you are at risk for serious complications due to influenza, the test is ordered to help your doctor plan out treatment. It may also be used to determine whether the flu has spread from one person to the next in the community or household.
This test is usually ordered when the flu season is at its peak, and the doctor wants to identify if your symptoms are due to seasonal influenza A or B or some other cause. It is also ordered 3-4 days after the symptoms have developed like a sore throat, fatigue, stuffy nose, runny nose, headache, fever, and muscle aches.
The type of sample is dependent on which test is used. Sometimes a respiratory sample is collected on a swab from the nasopharynx or a nasal aspirate. Some doctors may use a nasal or throat swab. The sample collection technique is very important in influenza testing. Different types of influenza tests use different kinds of techniques. The ideal sample is collected using the nasal aspirate, but a swab from the nasopharynx and nasal secretions can also be used. Sometimes, the doctor uses a throat swab, but this collects less of virus than a nasopharyngeal aspirate. Therefore, it is not useful in rapid testing where sensitivity tends to be a key concern. When using the nasal aspirate technique, the healthcare practitioner uses a syringe to push a small amount of sterile saline into the nose. Then he or she applies gentle suction in order to collect the resulting fluid, which consists of mucus and saline. The sample is then placed in a special container that preserves organisms in the sample. This container is called viral transport media, and it takes it to the lab for testing. In the nasopharyngeal swab technique, the sample is collected by making the patient tipthe his or her head back. The healthcare practitioner then inserts a Dacron swab, which is kind of like a long Q-tip gently into one of the nostrils until it meets with resistance. The swab is rotated a number of times and withdrawn. In some cases, it makes people tickle; in others, it makes people tear up.
There is special preparation needed for the test.
Flu is also known as influenza. It is a fairly common viral respiratory infection. Flu causes an illness that ranges from being mild to severe, and in some cases, it can lead to death. The influenza test identifies whether a virus is present or not in the respiratory secretion sample. The flu is seasonal. It breaks out in the latter half of fall and ends in the early stages of spring. Each season it afflicts nearly millions of Americans. There are several signs of the flu, including headache, chills, muscle pain, exhaustion, stuffy nose, cough, sore throat. These are more severe in comparison to common cold symptoms and also last longer. There are main types of influenza viruses, known as A and B. Both of them are responsible for the yearly flu epidemics and pandemics. Type C, on the other hand, is responsible for some mild respiratory illness and does not really cause epidemics. The influenza virus A has some subtypes named hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. The most common influenza A virus has subtypes H1N1 and H3N2. Generally speaking, it is common for doctors to diagnose the flu without lab tests, particularly when flu season is at its peak and has been documented in a particular area. However, flu testing is useful in ruling out other illnesses and prevents people from using antibiotics unnecessarily. They can thus get on antiviral therapy early on, which is by far the most effective treatment Flu testing is also helpful in cases where there is an outbreak of some kind of respiratory illness in a hospital, home, school, or some communal area. It also aids health departments in keeping track of the illness. Because virus strains change every year, testing also aids in monitoring subtypes.
The test helps in identifying influenza infection and charting out treatment plans. While doctors don’t always test the patient for flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends testing in certain situations:
  1. For patients in the hospital or with high-risk conditions who are suspected of having the flu
  2. For cases in which an influenza diagnosis will guide care or affect actions taken to control the spread of the virus to others in close contact and/or in the community
  3. For people who had severe symptoms and died from a suspected case of influenza
There are four types of influenza tests available:
  • 1. Rapid flu tests: these vary in their ability to test influenza. The results may be available on the same day.
  • 2. Rapid influenza diagnostic test antigen detection: this detects viral antigens in nasal secretions. This test has a high rate of false negatives.
  • 3. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction: this test detects viral genetic material in RNA samples. These are more sensitive and specific for the flu in comparison to rapid antigen detection tests.
  • 4. Viral culture: here, the virus is grown and identified by the lab as influenza A or B, or some other kind of respiratory virus.
  • Other tests which are used with flu tests in order to eliminate other infections with similar symptoms are:
  • 1. RSV: to detect the respiratory syncytial virus
  • 2. Strep test: to check for streptococcus
  • Flu tests are mostly ordered during flu season, during an outbreak in communities, and for people at-risk or with weak immune systems. Symptoms include:
    1. Headaches
    2. Fever, chills
    3. Muscle aches
    4. Weakness, fatigue
    5. Stuffy nose
    6. Sore throat
    7. Cough
    8. Diarrhea, and vomiting (rare/serious cases)
    Positive test results indicate the possibility of influenza A or B. An antiviral treatment plan is used to treat the flu. Negative tests indicate some other condition or a possibility that the test can not detect the strain due to poor collection or some other issues, like the virus being shed or because of prolonged exposure to the flu for a while.
    Related Tests Strep Throat Test, Pertussis Test, RSV Testing