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The Top 3 Methods For Diagnosing Influenza

Posted on Feb 5, 2015 2:43:00 PM


Puritan Products Help Diagnose Influenza

With Flu season well underway, Puritan Medical Products remains at the forefront of producing the highest quality products to fulfill the supply needs of clinics, hospitals and diagnostic labs around the world. As health care professionals know, the best way to stop the flu in its tracks is with fast diagnosis and immediate treatment. Several methods for diagnosing the influenza virus are currently utilized. Puritan products are found in many of the test kits and procedures performed by healthcare professionals within these industries, aiding in identification and reducing the potential spread of influenza.

The History of Viral Cultures

For centuries many suffered and died from what we now know was Influenza. For those who were critically ill, viral culture testing was provided for enhanced treatments or epidemiology. Antivirals were very limited, and often not prescribed. Today, viral cultures continue to provide conclusive diagnosis, however, results can take 24 – 48 hours, and dependent upon cultures, up to 10 days. Viral culture tests are an extremely accurate and conclusive method for diagnosing influenza. Viral culture tests can determine the strain of virus and have become the most common test to help identify and track the spread of flu throughout a population.

How To Diagnose Influenza

Today’s advanced technology provides highly effective, accurate methods for diagnosing the flu. The RT-PCR or “real time” molecular test affords detection of influenza genetic material. Continued technological advancements in Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Testing or RIDT, has launched this method into access at virtually all levels of health care. RIDTs are used to test patients who are presenting flu like symptoms. Each of these test methods provide unique benefits. Dependent upon a patient’s circumstances and symptoms, each of these test methods could potentially be the best choice for diagnosis.

Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests (RIDTs)

Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests (RIDTs) are the fastest method for diagnosing influenza, yielding results in as little as 15 minutes. Acceptable specimens may be collected using a nasopharyngeal (NP), or throat swab. The advantages of fast results and ease of specimen collection make RIDTs the practical choice for front line diagnosis, allowing healthcare professionals to make prompt decisions and choices in treatments.

The Best Test Deserves The Best Swab

Our PurFlock Ultra® flocked swabs have been designed for use with our UniTranz-RT™ Media Transport Systems. Ideal for test methods that require viral culture, RT-PCR, and RIDT. Offered in 1ml or 3ml fills with a variety of swab styles to accommodate specific uses.

For nasopharyngeal (NP) swab specimens: we recommend our mini-tip or ultrafine PurFlock Ultra® flocked swabs. The standard tipped PurFlock Ultra® swab affords greater ease and additional tip surface area in the collection of throat specimens.

UniTranz-RT™ Media used in conjunction with PurFlock Ultra® flocked swabs once validated, provide superior specimen collection, transport, and elution compared with traditional spun swabs affording higher specimen access to the test methodology of choice.





  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC): Influenza (Flu)
  2. Lab Tests Online®: Influenza Tests
  3. World Health Organization:Influenza

Topics: Flu, Flocked Swabs, Media Transport Systems, Diagnostic

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