Volume 93, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) are a common reason for unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions worldwide. Our objective was to determine if providing access to rapid influenza test results could reduce antibiotic prescriptions for ARTIs in a resource-limited setting. We conducted a prospective, pre-post study from March 2013 to October 2014. Outpatients presenting to a hospital in Sri Lanka were surveyed for influenza-like illness–onset of fever ≥ 38.0°C and cough in prior 7 days. Enrolled patients were administered a structured questionnaire, physical examination, and nasal/nasopharyngeal sampling for rapid influenza A/B testing. Influenza test results were released only during phase 2 (January–October 2014). We enrolled 571 patients with ILI–316 in phase 1 and 241 in phase 2. The proportion positive for influenza was 46.5% in phase 1 and 28.6% in phase 2, < 0.001. Between phases, antibiotic prescriptions decreased from 81.3% to 69.3% ( = 0.001) among all patients and from 83.7% to 62.3% ( = 0.001) among influenza-positive patients. On multivariable analysis, a positive influenza result during phase 2 was associated with lower odds of antibiotic prescriptions (OR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.26–0.95). This prospective study suggests that providing access to rapid influenza testing may reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions in resource-limited settings.


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  • Received : 08 Apr 2015
  • Accepted : 22 Jun 2015
  • Published online : 04 Nov 2015

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