Influenza surveillance serves the following purposes:
- Demonstrates when and where influenza viruses are circulating in Iowa.
- Identifies the strains of influenza circulating in communities for treatment considerations.
- Allows for characterization of new or antigenic variant viruses, match to current vaccine and determination of viruses to include in next season's vaccine.
Hygienic Laboratory Influenza Surveillance Testing:
For the 2014-2015 season, SHL and the Iowa Department of Public Health request the following specimens to be submitted for molecular testing at SHL:
- Laboratories: Facilities that perform rapid tests are requested to submit rapid test positive specimens for confirmation, until one specimen is confirmed. During times of low influenza prevalence, rapid tests have a poor Positive Predictive Value. Confirmation with a more sensitive and specific test at SHL can help to interpret rapid test performance and indicate when the results are more reliable. For more information, see the CDC's report “Guidance for Clinicians on the Use of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests.”
- Hospitalized patients (in-patients, not patients seen only in the ED) with Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and without other apparent cause;
- Patients from a defined population when an influenza outbreak is suspected, such as at a school or long-term care facility; and
- Patients where confirmation is desired because of special circumstances. (Please note circumstances on the test request form when submitting to the Hygienic Lab).
- ILINet Sentinel Providers (designated by IDPH): Submit specimens on patients with ILI per IDPH guidelines.
Information for Healthcare Providers:
Information on how to collect and submit specimens to SHL:
Preferred specimen types are a nasopharyngeal swab or a combined nasal plus throat swab (2 swabs in one transport medium tube).
- Hygienic Lab Testing (specimen collection and submission) and Result Interpretation
- Hygienic Lab Test Request Form: Guide to Required Information
- Clinical Test Menu
- Order a “Viral Detection and Viral and Bacterial PCR” kit.
If you wish to submit a question, contact us.
Information on influenza, including how it is spread, prevention, vaccines, treatment and related topics can be found at both the CDC and the IDPH websites.
Last updated Oct. 10, 2014.