- Prevent Disease.com -
The Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that public health officials in British Columbia are advising doctors to assume that all flu symptoms are the results of the H1N1 virus.
The organization quotes Tofino family doctor Dr. John Armstong, who said he has treated “dozens” of people infected with the virus. The provincial public health lab in Vancouver instructed him to stop sending swabs.
“We’ve reduced our swabbing...” Armstrong said in the report. BC public health officials “more or less told us to stop taking swabs because the lab is getting swamped in Vancouver.”
Public officials have supposedly confirmed that all the swabs being submitted are positive for H1N1. Several media outlets have requested full disclosure of laboratory analysis and methods of confirmation for those individuals infected with the H1N1 virus. No official statement has been released by public officials regarding the requests.
The largest outbreak occurred in Ahousat, the principal settlement on Flores Island, which is accessible only by water or air. Ahousat is also one of the main settlements of the Ahousaht First Nations led by hereditary chief Shawn Atleo, who was recently elected national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
But a “big community effort kept a lid on that,” as Aboriginal leaders and health officials held public meetings and urged measures to contain the spread, Armstrong said. “But now that school is starting, it’s changed again. We’re also seeing the same flu patterns in other communities.”
“Somebody has to make the clinical diagnosis in time. Who is going to make that clinical diagnosis? The problem is that flu symptoms can look an awful lot like some other things. One of them is kidney infection. You get fever, chills, aches and pains with that. Or tonsillitis, sore throat, fever, aches and pains, headaches. Those are things that you get with influenza. The danger is that you give Tamiflu to somebody when they should be treated for appendicitis, or kidney infection, and actually causes harm because you’ve deferred proper diagnosis.”
Canadian health officials, meanwhile, have provided no indication whatsoever of when a vaccine might actually be available, beyond saying it “might” be available in mid-November. The Public Health Agency of Canada did, however, announce yesterday that pregnant women, health workers, residents of remote area and adults with chronic conditions will be given “priority” access to a vaccine when it becomes available.