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Swine flu diagnoses put children at risk

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The swine flu algorithm used by the National Pandemic Flu Service in 2009-10 to triage patients by phone or online “is of little use in differentiating unwell children”, according to UK researchers.

They tested it on 72 children admitted with fever to Nottingham Children’s Hospital and found the algorithm would have diagnosed 71 with swine flu.

Two patients were confirmed as having swine flu, but 32 patients definitely did not have it.

The authors said: “There is a significant risk of harm with false-positive diagnoses. Face-to-face consultations may be the only way to ensure patient safety.”


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I'm sure this is not a diagnostic tool but designed to signpost people to correct next port of call. The 'worried well' will also ways sort higher, it is those who don't think they are at risk that usually are. The tool helps question and probe further rather than take answers at face value.

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