SINGAPORE DOCTOR: 1 IN 5 CASES OF H1N1 FLU CANNOT BE DETECTED; SINGAPORE’S H1N1 CASES ROSE TO 220
THE MIGHT OF THE PEN
By Salma Khalik HEALTH CORRESPONDENT, The Straits Times Singapore
DOCTORS will miss at least one in five H1N1 patients here because their symptoms will be somild, said an infectious diseases expert on Wednesday. Or they could exhibit no symptoms at all, and still pass on the virus. This means Singapore can expect its H1N1 numbers, now at 220, to spike sharply.
Dr Leo Yee Sin, head of the Communicable Disease Centre, gave this gloomy prognosis on Wednesday when she released results of an examination of Singapore’s first 50 patients. The CDC team found that only half had high fevers of 37.8 degrees or more – one of the symptoms the United States uses to identify H1N1 cases.
‘If we use this cut-off, then 46 per cent of confirmed cases would not have been picked up,’ she said. Cough was the most common symptom, affecting four in five patients, although only half had sore throats. These are such general symptoms that ‘it would be a challenge’ for general practitioners (GPs) to identify them as H1N1 patients, she said. Such symptoms are also very similar to those of seasonal flu.