Objective: This study was performed to determine predictors of clinical influenza diagnosis among patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza.
Methods: Prospective, laboratory-confirmed surveillance for influenza was conducted among patients of all ages who were hospitalized or presented to the emergency department with fever and respiratory symptoms during 2009-2013. We evaluated all enrolled persons who had influenza confirmed by viral culture and/or polymerase chain reaction and received any discharge diagnosis. The primary outcome, clinical influenza diagnosis, was defined as (1) a discharge diagnosis of influenza, (2) a prescription of neuraminidase inhibitor, or (3) a rapid test positive for influenza virus. Bivariate analyses and multiple logistic regression modeling were performed.
Results: Influenza was diagnosed for 29% of 504 enrolled patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza and for 56% of 236 patients with high-risk conditions. Overall, clinical influenza diagnosis was predicted by race/ethnicity, insurance status, year, being hospitalized, having high-risk conditions, and receiving no diagnosis of bacterial infection. Being diagnosed with a bacterial infection reduced the odds of receiving an influenza diagnosis by >3-fold for all patients and for patients with high-risk conditions.
Conclusions: Many influenza virus-positive patients, including those with high-risk conditions, do not receive a clinical diagnosis of influenza. The pattern of clinical diagnoses among influenza virus-positive patients suggests preferential consideration of bacterial diseases as a diagnosis.
Keywords: antiviral agents; clinical practice patterns; diagnosis; human; influenza.
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