Older adults less likely to be tested for influenza
Elderly adults hospitalized for fever or respiratory syndromes are much less likely than younger adults to be recommended for influenza testing, a recent study has shown. This is partly explained by a lower likelihood to present with influenza-like illnesses (ILI).
The study included 1,422 adults hospitalized for symptoms of acute respiratory illness or nonlocalizing fever. Wilcoxon test and Person’s chi-square test were used to compare characteristics between those who were (28 percent; n=399) and were not recommended for influenza testing.
Compared with young adults, elderly adults were much less likely to receive influenza testing. For instance, the mean age of those who were ordered for testing was significantly lower than those who were not (58±18 vs 66±15 years; p<0.001).
Those presenting with ILI were also more likely to receive testing. Age also played a significant role in this subgroup, such that the ILI patients who underwent influenza testing were significantly younger than those who did not (55±10 vs 63±9 years; p=0.027).
In a multivariable logistic regression model, younger age was found to be a significant predictor of influenza testing in hospitalized patients with acute respiratory illness (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.02; 95 percent CI, 1.55–2.63).
Other significant predictors include no history of lung disease (adjusted OR, 1.68; 1.26–2.24) and ILI symptoms (adjusted OR, 2.22; 1.71–2.89).
“Despite being at high risk for morbidity and mortality from influenza virus infection and sequelae, hospitalized older adults were tested for influenza less often than their younger counterparts,” said researchers.