Clinical Impact and Diagnostic Approaches
Each year in the United States of America, influenza viruses are responsible for seasonal epidemics resulting in over 200,000 hospitalizations and 30,000–50,000 deaths. Accurate and early diagnosis of influenza viral infections are critical for rapid initiation of antiviral therapy to reduce influenza related morbidity and mortality both during seasonal epidemics and pandemics. Several different approaches are currently available for diagnosis of influenza infections in humans. These include viral isolation in cell culture, immunofluorescence assays, nucleic acid amplification tests, immunochromatography-based rapid diagnostic tests, etc. Newer diagnostic approaches are being developed to overcome the limitations associated with some of the conventional detection methods.