This paper reviews 14 published studies describing performance characteristics, including sensitivity and specificity, of commercially available rapid, point-of-care (POC) influenza tests in patients affected by an outbreak of a novel swine-related influenza A (H1N1) that was declared a pandemic in 2009. Although these POC tests were not intended to be specific for this pandemic influenza strain, the nonspecialized skills required and the timeliness of results make these POC tests potentially valuable for clinical and public health use. Pooled sensitivity and specificity for the POC tests studied were 68% and 81%, respectively, but published values were not homogeneous with sensitivities and specificities ranging from 10% to 88% and 51% to 100%, respectively. Pooled positive and negative likelihood ratios were 5.94 and 0.42, respectively. These results support current recommendations for use of rapid POC tests when H1N1 is suspected, recognizing that positive results are more reliable than negative results in determining infection, especially when disease prevalence is high.
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