Diagnosis and treatment of influenza: a literature review

Alisa Pozniak1

1Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius, Lithuania


Background. Influenza is an acute viral respiratory infection. Influenza viruses spread through respiratory droplets and are characterized by frequent mutations that lead to antigenicity changes. According to the World Health Organization, seasonal influenza epidemics cause approximately 4 million cases of severe illness and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year globally.

Aim: to review the diagnosis and treatment of influenza.

Methodology: literature sources were selected from PubMed database following dates from 2017 to 2022 using keywords and their combinations: influenza, rapid antigen test, neuraminidase inhibitors, favipiravir, baloxavir.

Results. Influenza should be suspected in patients who develop acute respiratory symptoms during the influenza season. Diagnostic tests available for influenza include rapid antigen and molecular tests, polymerase chain reaction tests, virological culture. Antiviral therapy should be initiated in patients who are at increased risk of complications from influenza. The neuraminidase inhibitors zanamivir and oseltamivir are used for specific antiviral therapy. New antivirals such as peramivir, favipiravir, laninamivir and baloxavir have emerged as a promising new treatment approach.

Conclusions. Influenza is a serious infectious disease that can lead to life-threatening complications. Virological diagnosis is based on specific epidemiological data, clinical symptoms and laboratory tests. Neuraminidase inhibitors are recommended for early treatment. Several cases of zanamivir and oseltamivir-resistant virus have been reported. That is the reason why different approaches for antiviral treatment are being investigated.


Keywords: influenza, rapid antigen test, neuraminidase inhibitors, favipiravir, baloxavir.