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CDC: Health Care Providers Shouldn't Rely on Rapid Flu Tests

Rapid flu tests may show that patients do not have the flu when in fact they do

MONDAY, Jan. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors should not rely entirely on rapid flu tests when determining if patients have the flu, U.S. health officials say.

The rapid flu tests used in many clinics are showing that patients do not have the flu when in fact they do (false negative), according to Angela Campbell, M.D., M.P.H., a medical officer in the respiratory diseases branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NBC News reported.

Flu is now widespread in 41 states and the H1N1 strain is causing 99 percent of the cases that are being tested, the CDC said in its weekly flu report.

The CDC said health care workers need to be ready to treat patients for the flu even if the first test is negative, NBC News reported.

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