Public Health

Not The Flu, But Feels Like It! What Is Influenza-like Illness (ILI)

Khang T. Vuong, MHA
Khang T. Vuong, MHA2 Jun 2023
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) are a group of respiratory infections with similar symptoms to the flu but are caused by different viruses or bacteria. Common misconceptions include ILI being the same as the flu and antibiotics being an effective treatment. It's crucial for individuals and healthcare professionals to differentiate between ILI and influenza to prevent misdiagnosis and provide appropriate treatment.

I. What is Influenza-like Illnesses (ILI)?

Definition and Symptoms of ILI

Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) encompass a group of respiratory infections exhibiting symptoms similar to the flu. While ILIs can be caused by the influenza virus, they can also result from other viruses and bacteria. Based on a study published in the journal PLoS One, the distribution of symptoms experienced by patients diagnosed with ILI is as follows:

  1. Fever: 95.0%
  2. Cough: 92.0%
  3. Sore throat: 51.0%
  4. Muscle aches (myalgia): 42.0%
  5. Fatigue: 42.0%
  6. Headache: 40.0%
  7. Chills: 36.0%
  8. Shortness of breath: 28.0%
  9. Nasal congestion: 23.0%
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Khang T. Vuong, MHA

Khang T. Vuong received his Master of Healthcare Administration from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. He was named Forbes Healthcare 2021 30 under 30. Vuong spoke at Stanford Medicine X, HIMSS conference, and served as a Fellow at the Bon Secours Health System.

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