PURPOSE: To see if more patients were tested for influenza in May and June 2009 in comparison with the same period in previous years, and if the proportion of positive results was the same.
METHODS: Review of virological data from the hospital’s database for patients who had influenza tests done in the relevant periods. The number of patients with influenza tests done was compared before and after the start of the outbreak. Case reports of educationally instructive cases of influenza are provided.
RESULTS: There was a trend towards increased influenza testing from 2007 - 2009. In June 2009, 2.348 patients/1000 patient-days had influenza testing performed. This compares with a rate of 0.407 patients/1000 patient-days in June 2007. In May-June 2009, the positivity rate was 12.4%, compared with 5% in the period before the outbreak.
CONCLUSIONS: There has been an increased rate of testing for influenza in our hospital, and that this predated the pandemic. We found that enhanced influenza awareness led to increased influenza testing.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: An increased rate of influenza testing predated the epidemic. Educationally instructive cases of H3 influenza were diagnosed in the period before the pandemic, when there was enhanced influenza awareness. Influenza may be causing more morbidity than thought.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Sewa Wen, Tan Ban Hock
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