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Can Your Physician Definitively Diagnose You with Swine Flu (Type A Novel H1N1) ? The Answer Might Surprise You.

Monday, August 10th, 2009

After a wonderful 6 day vacation in California my wife and I headed back to Tennessee but my wife didn’t come home alone, she came home with a rapidly changing fever, body aches, headaches, and nausea. In all honesty “Swine Flu (Type A Novel H1N1)” didn’t even cross my mind. Considering we traveled back to Tennessee from California on two different flights it would be easy to understand contracting some kind of illness from being around so many people but no one thinks it can happen to them.

About two days into a rising fever that floated from 99.6 to 101.4 degrees my wife decided to head to the doctor. Once she made it into the clinic she registered a heart wrenching 103.5 degrees. After some back and forth and somewhere around fourteen phone calls including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the doctor came back and was candidly honest with my wife and mother. Much to his dismay he informed them that there was no sub-type specific test available to detect the swine flu (Novel Influenza Type A (H1N1)) without lengthy laboratory analysis. (My wife was told results would take between 7 – 14 days to get back)

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You might be asking so what does this mean? There is no way for physicians to test specifically for the swine flu (Novel Influenza Type A (H1N1)) without a positive culture or RT-PCR performed by an approved laboratory. This means that you’ll be completely better or dead before you can find out whether or not you actually had the swine flu and not some other sub-type of the Type A virus. (Which includes the seasonal flu)

According to the CDC, “At this time, there are only two FDA cleared assays for confirmation of novel influenza A(H1N1) virus infection, including the CDC rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel assay; however, experimental rRT-PCR assays, not approved or authorized by FDA, may be able to detect novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.”(source)

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