Disease Management and Health Outcomes

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 79–85 | Cite as

Managing Influenza in Primary Care

A Practical Guide to Clinical Diagnosis
  • René Snacken
Practical Disease Management


Influenza remains a significant cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality. With the availability of new effective antivirals for the treatment of influenza, early diagnosis of the disease will become increasingly important for effective disease management.

Although investigators are generally in broad agreement about the symptoms of influenza, there are currently no agreed guidelines for the clinical diagnosis of influenza during annual outbreaks. This paper outlines the recommendations of a Working Party (comprising virologists and family practitioners) who met to construct criteria that could be used by primary healthcare professionals to aid early clinical diagnosis of influenza, i.e. before the development of any complications.

A virologically confirmable diagnosis of influenza is likely when an otherwise healthy adult presents, during a known local influenza outbreak, with rapid onset of the symptom complex of fever, feverishness or chills plus myalgia, cough or malaise. Guidelines for the diagnosis of influenza in children, in patients with chronic diseases and in the elderly require further refinement.


Influenza Respiratory Syncytial Virus Oseltamivir Zanamivir Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Influenza Diagnosis Working Party: René Snacken, Brussels, Belgium; Albert Osterhaus, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Andrew Rotheray, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK; Alan Middleton, Fowey, Cornwall, UK; Fabrizio Pregliasco, Milan, Italy; J. Vidal Tort, Barcelona, Spain; Alain El Sawy, St Martin d’hers, France; Loïc Boucher, Muis-Eugné, France; Jean-Marie Cohen, Paris, France; Jérôme Boussac, Carquefou, France; Rudolf Fuchs, Hermaringen, Germany; George Leo, Berlin, Germany; Otmar Carewicz, Dossenheim, Germany; Paul Whitsitt, Ontario, Canada. The Influenza Diagnosis Working Party is sponsored by an educational grant from F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • René Snacken
    • 1
  1. 1.Scientific Institute of Public Health — Louis PasteurSection VirologyBrusselsBelgium

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