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TBE Meningococcal Disease Influenza Smallpox


There are tests for influenza that are of value to health officials as they provide information to the public concerning the character and extent of flu in a community. For example, an immunofluorescence test is available for direct detection of viral constituents in nasal secretions. Other diagnostic options are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or enzyme-linked immunosabent-assay (ELISA) with monoclonal antibodies to the nucleoprotein. Cultures of the influenza viruses obtained from nasopharyngeal secretions are carried out for further identification of strains. This scientific information can be useful to keep the population updated on the latest influenza developments, and to determine the type of circulating flu viruses. However, these lab tests have limited applications in routine practice since they take several days to perform.

Differential diagnosis

Influenza has to be distinguished from non-influenza respiratory infections without fever or severe constitutional symptoms, such as the common cold and other mild illnesses that sometimes may be accompanied by fever. It is also important to distinguish from serious bacterial infections that require antibiotic treatment such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

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