Podcast #313: Flu Screening - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: Dr. Peter Bakes

Educational Pearls:

  • High risk patients: underlying lung disease, immunocompromised, extremes of age (65), underlying cardiac/renal/neurologic disease, and pregnant women
  • Testing: RT-PCR (RNA based test that is both sensitive and specific)
  • Workup: comorbidities dictate whether or not they are screened; CXR indicated in high risk patients with respiratory symptoms
  • Morbidity from flu comes from secondary pneumonia, sepsis, and septic shock
  • Treatment options are Tamiflu and Relenza (Relenza is contraindicated in patients with lung disease)
  • High risk patients see average of 2.5 days shortening of illness and a decrease in illness severity. Low risk patients see average of 1.5 days shortening of illness.



Binnicker MJ, Espy MJ, Irish CL, Vetter EA. Direct Detection of Influenza A and B Viruses in Less Than 20 Minutes Using a Commercially Available Rapid PCR Assay. J Clin Microbiol. 2015 Jul; 53(7): 2353-4.

Longo, Dan L. (2012). “187: Influenza”. Harrison’s principles of internal medicine (18th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780071748896.

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