Monday, May 04, 2009

Influenza

Last night in the ER, I had a patient test positive for influenza A. For those of you living in a hole, the H1N1 flu that is going around now (also affectionately referred to as "swine flu") is a type of Influenza A.

It was a little exciting, feeling like I was on the frontier of an epidemic. My patient really wasn't very sick. She looked like she had the flu, but otherwise seemed fine. I gave her some flu medicine and sent her out the door. I also wrote for the flu swab to be sent off to the state lab, for the culture that could prove if it is, in fact, the same H1N1 flu that has been going around. I haven't seen a positive flu swab in over a month, but it could still be just your regular yearly influenza that came through here weeks ago, and not the new strain.

I got a call today that since my patient hasn't been to Mexico, she doesn't qualify for further testing. What I don't understand is that if we have confirmed cases in the next county over, why couldn't we now have them in this county? How will we know if more people have it unless we actually test them for it? I think a second criteria that can be used to qualify for testing is if a patient is part of a community that has confirmed cases. But if we do not test them for it, there won't BE any confirmed cases in our community. I realize I don't have a PhD in epidemiology, but it must makes sense to me that we are going to be seeing it here in Greenwood, and soon.

But what do I know?

I did wash my hands extra carefully after leaving her room.

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