Rapid flu tests more accurate when positive, but negative results require confirmation

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Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) were more accurate at diagnosing the flu than ruling it out in a new study, indicating that patients with a negative result would need additional testing. Researchers reviewed 159 published studies to determine the accuracy of RIDTs in diagnosing flu in adults and children presenting with flu-like symptoms. RIDTs were defined as any commercially available assay that identified flu antigens or neuraminidase activity in respiratory specimens through simple immunochromatographic formats. In all studies, RIDTs were tested against one of two accepted reference standards. Results appeared online Feb. 27 at Annals of Internal Medicine. [ACP]