• Diagnose Flu, COVID-19, RSV or Other Respiratory Infections

    Information provided by Quest Diagnostics


    The combination of seasonal flu, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)1 can make a differential diagnosis challenging when your patients experience fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms. That’s because these symptoms are common in a wide variety of respiratory illnesses.

    This is particularly important because the CDC believes that reduced population immunity due to lack of flu virus activity since March 2020 could result in an early and possibly severe flu season.2

    Clinicians are encouraged to consider testing for other viral causes of respiratory illness—for example, influenza—in addition to testing for SARS-CoV-2,3 according to the CDC.

    Precise diagnosis of flu, COVID-19, RSV, or other respiratory infections is especially crucial for young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with underlying conditions or compromised immune systems.

    Testing options use a single specimen to co-test for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens, which helps expedite diagnosis so you can develop an appropriate treatment/care plan.

    Whether you suspect a viral or bacterial infection, respiratory testing panels detect viral and bacterial pathogens to help you make the most accurate diagnosis.

    Learn more about flu, COVID-19, RSV, and other respiratory diagnostic testing and panels.

    With such a wide breadth of COVID-19 and respiratory diagnostic options available in the market, it may be difficult to identify which COVID-19 test is right for your patients. The Right Test information sheet can assist you in choosing the right test for your patient population.


    1. CDC. RSV national trends. Updated August 25, 2021. Accessed August 26, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/surveillance/nrevss/rsv/natl-trend.html
    2. CDC. Frequently asked influenza (flu) questions: 2021-2022 season. Reviewed August 26, 2021. Accessed August 30, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2021-2022.htm
    3. CDC. Interim clinical guidance for management of patients with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Updated February 16, 2021. Accessed August 30, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html


    The posting of sponsored information and content on this page should not be considered an AAFP endorsement or recommendation of the sponsor's products, services, policies, or procedures. The information and opinions expressed on this page are those of the paid sponsors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the AAFP. The AAFP is not responsible for the content of third-party websites linked from this page; moreover, any links on this page to third-party websites where goods or services are advertised are not endorsements or recommendations by the AAFP of the third-party sites, goods, or services.