About a month ago, I was visiting with my sister. During our conversation, she brought up that her boyfriend had swine flu. I was concerned for him (and, additionally, for her) but also intrigued because he was the first person I knew who had H1N1. Working for a healthcare magazine, I've read a lot about H1N1 and I bombarded Emily with questions. Turns out, her boyfriend went to the doctor but didn't actually get tested for H1N1. Matt's doctor just told him because he had the symptoms, he probably had swine flu.
Matt was "banished" to his basement for 3 days. Thankfully, he's a healthy 20-year-old and is now back at college and running track. My sister never contracted H1N1.
My second possible "brush" with H1N1 came last week when my roommate came down with flu-like symptoms. After a day of feeling pretty poorly, I encouraged Christine to call her doctor. She did, and her doctor told her there wasn't a point of her coming in to get tested. She just encouraged the regular flu recovery regime -- lots of fluids, lots of rest and lots of Advil for her body aches.
It's been a week and Christine is still not 100 percent, though she has gotten markedly better. We still don't know for sure if she had a flu, or even whether it was "regular" or "swine." So far, my other roommate and I have been feeling fine (knock on wood)!
Keeping Matt and Christine's experiences in mind, I watched this video on MSNBC's Web site. A 20-year-old named Kelsey from Columbus, OH died a week after giving birth to her daughter from H1N1. She was tested twice for H1N1 and the tests came back negative; the doctors wouldn't put her on Tamiflu despite insistence from her parents. The video stated rapid H1N1 tests are wrong 50 percent of the time.
Weeks later, CDC tests showed Kelsey did have H1N1, but it was too late. She delivered her baby and died so soon afterwards.
I know laboratorians have been flooded with H1N1 testing in the past few months. I felt a little angry when Matt and Christine's doctors wouldn't test them, just so they at least knew what they had. But seeing Kelsey's story reminds me even if you are tested, that doesn't mean the test results are accurate.
What is your view on rapid H1N1 testing?