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Swine flu to be confirmed on symptoms alone

Lab tests abandoned for H1N1 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde area

OnMedica Staff

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

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Parts of Scotland are now diagnosing suspected swine flu patients based on clinical symptoms alone, the Scottish government has announced.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon explained: "As expected, we are continuing to see a significant number of H1N1 cases reported in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Given the prevalence of the virus in the area, the local health board is now using clinical diagnosis rather than laboratory testing to confirm cases where appropriate.

"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will assess the effectiveness of this approach over the next week."

Greater Glasgow and Clyde has so far experienced 394 cases of swine flu, as against a handful in other health board areas.

Ms Sturgeon also paid tribute to the staff in the area, thanking them for 'their efforts in dealing with this outbreak.'

"In particular, I'd like to thank those who worked to hard so save the patient who sadly died," she said, "Tragic though her death is, I would like to emphasise that the vast majority of those who have H1N1 are suffering from relatively mild symptoms.

"I would reiterate that the risk to the general public remains low and we can all play our part in slowing the spread of the virus by following simple hygiene procedures - like washing your hands and using tissues when coughing or sneezing."

Some 59 further patients under investigation in England have also been confirmed with swine flu. This brings the total number of confirmed UK cases identified since April 2009 to 1,320.

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