Tuesday, July 7, 2009

WHO to Recommend Countries Stop Testing All Flu Cases (Update1)

By Phil Serafino and Kristen Hallam

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- The World Health Organization will recommend that countries stop trying to test all suspected cases of swine flu, said Keiji Fukuda, the agency’s assistant director-general of health security and environment.

Nations that have reported pandemic flu cases should focus on diagnosing patients by their symptoms, Fukuda said today on a conference call with reporters. That will free up laboratories to test samples in unusual or severe cases, clusters of illnesses and cases with odd symptoms, he said.

“What countries ought to do is tailor down their testing,” he said. “It will ease the burden on labs and make testing less of a chore. It is very hard to keep up.”

The Geneva-based United Nations health agency will continue recommending testing in countries that haven’t reported any cases of the pandemic H1N1 flu virus, Fukuda said. The WHO will release updated guidance on testing within a few days, he said. More than 98,000 pandemic flu cases have been reported worldwide, Fukuda said.

No comments: