DoH advises GPs in swine flu hotspots to stop swabbing

GPs should make a clinical diagnosis of swine flu instead of swabbing patients in areas where the spread of the virus can no longer be contained.

Photograph: Istock
Photograph: Istock

The updated guidance was issued by the DoH in a letter sent out to all SHA pandemic flu directors, and comes as the total number of confirmed cases in the UK tops 3,500.

The letter states that although a containment strategy remains in place, more flexibility should be allowed in areas where more community transmission has taken place.

The letter calls for local health authorities to look carefully at the evidence in their area and consult with local GPs and other health experts before deciding on the right approach.

Treatment should continue to be offered to all symptomatic cases but the prophylactic use of antivirals can be stopped depending on local decision-making.

Meanwhile, the health secretary Andy Burnham has confirmed that contracts have been signed with GSK and Baxter to produce enough swine flu vaccine for the whole population of England.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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