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Evid Based Nurs 8:121 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.4.121
  • Assessment (screening or diagnosis)

Review: fever and cough are the most accurate single tests for diagnosing influenza

Test characteristics of clinical signs and symptoms for diagnosing influenza*

Test Number of studies (n) Positive likelihood ratio Negative likelihood ratio Diagnostic odds ratio (CI)†
*CI defined in glossary.
†Calculated as the odds of the symptom or finding among patients with the disease compared with the odds of the symptom or finding among those not having the disease.
‡Not significant.
Fever (37.8–38.5°C) 3 1.8 0.40 4.5 (1.8 to 11.0)
Feverish (patient report) 2 Not reported Not reported 1.1 (0.88 to 1.4)‡
Cough 4 1.1 0.42 2.8 (2.1 to 3.7)
Myalgia 3 0.93 1.2 0.79 (0.54 to 1.1)‡
Headache 4 1.0 0.75 1.4 (1.2 to 1.8)
Sore throat 3 1.0 0.96 1.1 (0.87 to 1.3)‡
Sneezing 2 1.2 0.87 1.3 (0.95 to 1.9)‡
Nasal congestion 2 1.1 0.49 2.3 (1.9 to 2.8)

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