20 October 2009

Inconvenient questions, H1N1 update version


The latest H1N1 update from the provincial medical officer of health says there have been seven confirmed cases of H1N1 in the province over the past week.  This is the second wave.

So how does she know it is seven confirmed cases of H1N1?

You see the official advice from the health department is that if you get sick you don’t go to the doctor or to a hospital emergency room:

If you get influenza-like symptoms, but are otherwise healthy, stay home to avoid infecting others and treat the symptoms.

So how exactly do they know that there have been seven confirmed H1N1 cases in the province in the last week?

Just wondering.



Toe said...

Yeah. I've been asking the same question for weeks and weeks.

Nancy Crozier said...

I'd guess that some people either don't listen to the health department's advice and do go to their doctor or an ER; or they are sick enough that hospitalization is necessary.

The Rat said...

Did ya notice the word "confirmed" in that sentence? She knows there were seven confirmed cases because seven cases were confirmed by testing. Sick people that stay home are not confirmed. Confirmed cases are a good indicator because usually only severe cases end up needing confirmation in order to guide treatment. The ratio of severe cases to population and other jurisdictions can give a relatively good picture of the prevalence and spread of a disease in the general population.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Well, yes Nancy, that was my point, one Rat there obviously missed entirely.

In fact, you can see the splat of the point right there above his head where it went right over.

The standard advice is to stay home. That standard advice is to further reduce the spread of the disease. My guess is that a lot of people would not heed that advice.

Rat missed another aspect as well: "usually only severe cases end up needing confirmation in order to guide treatment." In these seven cases, all were described by the MOH as mild meaning they should not have normally been seen by a physician either in a private clinic or in Emerg.

And Rat, if you are involved in medical statistics or epidemiological studies for this or any other real-life case, you might want to go back and review your notes from class.

Nancy Crozier said...

Sorry, Ed, guess I missed the point too. I read the post a few times and thought you were seeing conspiracies!

Edward G. Hollett said...

roflmao. No, Nancy, no conspiracies.

Just a simple case of wondering whether this first announcement of the second round of H1N1 might be pointing out a problem with the plan thus far.

If people followed the advice, the only cases that would turn up for the MOH to report would be severe cases likely resulting in hospitalizations or deaths.

Evidently, these seven or their families didn't get the memo.

The Rat said...

Seriously, that's your ass-covering excuse?

So how exactly do they know that there have been seven confirmed H1N1 cases in the province in the last week?

Sorry, but I see no deeper meaning there than the fact that you can't understand how she could know how there were confirmed cases. It looks an awful lot like you didn't understand the sentence yourself. Your "point" was quite dull.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Is it Rat or Flame-boy?

You evidently got the wrong end of the stick somewhere along the way or just have difficulty reading the plain English of both the post and the subsequent comments.

If the protocol was working as it was supposed to they would not have seven confirmed mild cases and they were mild cases. They would not have them since the seven mild cases would have stayed home as the protocol requires. If they stayed home, no tests could have been run to confirm the strain was H1N1.

Obviously the protocol has not been communciated effectively or people are simply chosing to ignore.

As such, part of the approach which is intended to reduce infections will not work as hoped.

Seems pretty simple - and pretty obvious - to me.

Anonymous said...

The thing that worries me, about this whole mess is how bad we appear to be handling information distribution, across all levels of government.

I mean it's not like we didn't see this event coming like 6-7 months ago.

If this can be considered a dry run for the next pandemic I'm very very worried.