Influenza clinical testing and oseltamivir treatment in hospitalized children with acute respiratory illness, 2015-2016

Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2022 Mar;16(2):289-297. doi: 10.1111/irv.12927. Epub 2021 Oct 26.


Background: Antiviral treatment is recommended for all hospitalized children with suspected or confirmed influenza, regardless of their risk profile. Few data exist on adherence to these recommendations, so we sought to determine factors associated with influenza testing and antiviral treatment in children.

Methods: Hospitalized children <18 years of age with acute respiratory illness (ARI) were enrolled through active surveillance at pediatric medical centers in seven cities between 11/1/2015 and 6/30/2016; clinical information was obtained from parent interview and chart review. We used generalized linear mixed-effects models to identify factors associated with influenza testing and antiviral treatment.

Results: Of the 2299 hospitalized children with ARI enrolled during one influenza season, 51% (n = 1183) were tested clinically for influenza. Clinicians provided antiviral treatment for 61 of 117 (52%) patients with a positive influenza test versus 66 of 1066 (6%) with a negative or unknown test result. In multivariable analyses, factors associated with testing included neuromuscular disease (aOR = 5.35, 95% CI [3.58-8.01]), immunocompromised status (aOR = 2.88, 95% CI [1.66-5.01]), age (aOR = 0.93, 95% CI [0.91-0.96]), private only versus public only insurance (aOR = 0.78, 95% CI [0.63-0.98]), and chronic lung disease (aOR = 0.64, 95% CI [0.51-0.81]). Factors associated with antiviral treatment included neuromuscular disease (aOR = 1.86, 95% CI [1.04, 3.31]), immunocompromised state (aOR = 2.63, 95% CI [1.38, 4.99]), duration of illness (aOR = 0.92, 95% CI [0.84, 0.99]), and chronic lung disease (aOR = 0.60, 95% CI [0.38, 0.95]).

Conclusion: Approximately half of children hospitalized with influenza during the 2015-2016 influenza season were treated with antivirals. Because antiviral treatment for influenza is associated with better health outcomes, further studies of subsequent seasons would help evaluate current use of antivirals among children and better understand barriers for treatment.

Keywords: clinical testing; hospitalization; influenza; nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT); oseltamivir; rapid influenza testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human* / diagnosis
  • Influenza, Human* / drug therapy
  • Influenza, Human* / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases*
  • Oseltamivir / therapeutic use


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Oseltamivir