Only 7.5% of patients presenting to ambulatory care for acute respiratory illness received an antiviral prescription, according to a study by CDC researchers published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Among the patients with confirmed influenza, only 15% received an antiviral prescription.

Using data from five sites in the US Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network Study, the researchers determined the number of patients aged at least 6 months who presented for outpatient care with acute respiratory illness. They evaluated how many patients were prescribed antiviral medications and how many had confirmed influenza by PCR. They also analyzed antibiotic prescriptions at four sites with that data.

There were 6,766 patients with acute respiratory illness and 509 (7.5%) received an antiviral prescription. Among the patients, 2,366 had confirmed influenza and only 355 (15%) had received an antiviral prescription. The cohort also included 1,021 patients at high risk for influenza-associated complications due to age or chronic medical condition. Among those, 195 (19%) received an antiviral prescription.