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ACMT COVID-19 Web Series FAQs

Influenza Testing

Influenza and COVID-19 are caused by different virus species. Although often compared to the 1918-1919 Influenza pandemic, the current COVID-19 pandemic has some important differences in terms of transmission, clinical features, and apparent virus stability. At the moment (late fall 2020), important questions are raised by the additional risk of seasonal influenza over the next 6 months in the Northern Hemisphere. Is this going to result in a “double whammy” this winter – possible co-infections with Influenza A or B and SARS-CoV-2, and additional community morbidity/mortality from two simultaneous viral diseases? In the November 20, 2020 ACMT COVID webinar, Dr. Tim Uyeki MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of the Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented data from the last influenza season demonstrating that there was an unexpectedly rapid drop-off of influenza positivity in March 2020, and low rates of influenza activity in the Southern hemisphere thus far this year, that cannot be attributed to decreased testing alone. This highlights the impact of control measures taken to prevent transmission impacting both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza – and likely to vary by degree of masking, social distancing, and hygiene practices.

However, Influenza A (predominantly H3N2) was circulating at low levels in Southeast Asia, western Africa, and some places in Europe in November 2020, raising concern about the potential impact of the influenza season as well as other respiratory pathogens, particularly as community mitigation efforts vary and wane due to fatigue, holidays, changing work and school patterns, etc.

FAQs - Influenza Testing

Last updated: December 7, 2020
 What is the likelihood that seasonal influenza will result in an even worse public health situation in the U.S. this winter? posted on 10:17 AM, December 8, 2020
 Should patients with COVID-19 be given the flu vaccine to prevent influenza? posted on 10:19 AM, December 8, 2020
 Is influenza easier to catch than COVID-19? posted on 10:20 AM, December 8, 2020
 Can infection by Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses be distinguished by their clinical syndromes? posted on 10:21 AM, December 8, 2020
 What testing is available to detect the viruses causing influenza? posted on 10:38 AM, December 8, 2020
 At this time, what is a reasonable testing strategy for detecting influenza? posted on 10:44 AM, December 8, 2020
 Which influenza patients should be considered the highest priority for anti-viral treatment? posted on 10:48 AM, December 8, 2020
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