Swine flu 'cannot be identified by high fever'

High fever is a poor discriminator of whether or not patients have swine flu, a UK analysis suggests.

Researchers from Imperial College, London, studied data from 631 patients admitted to UK hospitals with swine flu. Their data, reported in Thorax, showed that a quarter of patients did not have a fever on admission and over half did not have a high fever.

‘Such findings question the appropriateness of specifying fever of at least 38C as part of the clinical case definition in current diagnostic, treatment and infection control algorithms,' the researchers said.

However, the researchers added that their findings backed up the policy of prioritising pregnant women, the under fives and those with long-term respiratory problems for vaccination.

They also said that their data suggested that all patients with asthma might benefit from vaccination, rather than those with severe disease.

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