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New advice on spotting influenza

Children who have a combination of cough, headache and pharyngitis are most likely to be suffering from influenza, according to US researchers.

All patients who attended an emergency department in winter 2002 with respiratory illness and fever were tested for the influenza virus. The researchers then looked at correlations with specific symptoms in children testing positive.

Cough, headache and phar-yngitis were independently associated with influenza infection and together the symp- toms had a sensitivity rate of 80 per cent and a specificity rate of 70 per cent, according to results in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (April).

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