Swine Flu diagnosis now possible in just four hours

PHUKET: Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn Hospital says it can now diagnosis a case of swine flu in just four hours. Until yesterday, it took up to 18 hours to determine if a patient has caught the Type A(H1N1) flu virus.

“The procedure has become much quicker because we received ribonucleic acid, or the genetic material of the influenza virus prototype, for analysis on Monday,” Dr Yong Poovorawan said yesterday.

He heads the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn Hospital’s Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology.

The Type A(H1N1) virus has sparked fear across the globe. First detected in Mexico, the influenza has hit people in up to 21 countries, and 30 deaths from the virus have already been confirmed.

In response to outbreaks in several countries, Thailand, including Phuket, has been enforcing many preventive measures, such as getting passengers scanned for unusually high fever and quarantining those with flu-like symptoms.

So far, no cases of Type A(H1N1) influenza have been detected in the Thailand.

In a related development, Public Health Ministry spokesman Dr Sutham Srithamma yesterday announced that the three patients quarantined recently had only the common flu. One was a German tourist admitted into the Rajavithi Hospital; another was quarantined at a hospital in Nakhon Sawan; and the third at a hospital in Ubon Ratchathani.

“They have all been discharged, and though they don’t have fever anymore, public health officials will be checking on them over the next seven days,” Sutham said, adding that pamphlets about the virus were now available at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and would soon be available at the Phuket and Chiangmai airports – in both Thai and English.

There have been no quarantines or suspected cases of the virus in Phuket.

“We will distribute similar pamphlets in other areas soon,” Sutham said.

Phuket News

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