Dr Attila Danko posted another great comment on this blog this morning. Dr Danko is a GP in Ballarat (in regional Victoria). This guy is great – he’s seeing Swine Flu up close and interacting with Government agencies and labs – as well as the patients themselves. It’s worth reading his comment in full – I’ve reproduced it here in its entirety:
Another update. After getting my first Influenza A positive result today (almost 1 week after testing!) I rang the lab to find out if this would be further tested for specific typing (ie. novel H1N1) I ended up having a very lovely and informative chat to one of the microbiologists there. She reckons that about 2/3 of all influenza currently circulating in Victoria is actually non-swine seasonal flu. However samples from around the Austin and northern suburbs are now almost all novel H1N1. She also said that much of last years seasonal influenza in Australia was resistant to Tamiflu. She also agreed with my conclusion, based on seeing hundreds of patients with colds, and getting negative results bar one from the dozens I have tested (because they had severe symptoms) that there is not really that much true influenza around yet, swine or otherwise.
There are confusing statements going around, with some recommendations that (more sensibly) we should now only be treating high risk people with Tamiflu. (ie. people with respiratory disease etc). The recommendations on the link I posted to earlier though still stands. (treat everyone who meets the case definition).
By the way, the definition of “mild illness” is a slippery definition. My patient who tested positive had what most people would describe as severe symptoms, practically bedridden with aches and pains and feeling unwell, nauseous, cough, hot sweats and chills. My patient is at no risk of death, so this probably makes it classified as mild. However most lay people would assume “mild” means a bit of a sniffle and cough where you can go about your business. Ordinary influenza has got quite severe symptoms that put you in bed for a week, and if the one I tested is swine, it has these severe symptoms too, but nothing different to the influenza we usually see.
Totally irresponsible reporting from the Age today
One third have swine flu?? Bollocks! One of those academics who hasn’t been near a patient in decades, most likely.
I’ve blogged on Dr Danko’s original comment yesterday here, where he talks about seeing a lot of patients with bad colds, but not much flu: and where he wonders if the Victorian Government’s response risks creating a Tamiflu-resistant strain of Swine Flu.
Anyway – it’s just fantastic having someone of Dr Danko’s calibre contributing to this debate.