Govt will cough up $600k for new flu testing

A slow motion sneeze - but flu can spread quickly.
A slow motion sneeze - but flu can spread quickly. James Gathany

New flu detection technology will generate a better response to the virus, a Mackay doctor says.

Mackay Hospital will be one of 15 in Queensland to get "rapid point-of-care testing,” the state government said on Thursday.

Dr Pieter Nel, Mackay Base Hospital director of emergency, said the new gear would help include or exclude influenza as a diagnosis.

"It will also reduce unnecessary admissions,” Dr Nel said.

He said the new equipment should prevent the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics and antiviral medications.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said the government would cough up $600,000 for the technology, which would be rolled out next year.

The government said the technology would make future flu seasons easier to manage, after a rash of new cases caused concern this year.

Mr Dick said the tests would screen for the influenza A and B viruses and provide results within half an hour.

On September 26, News Corp reported there had been 3687 new confirmed flu cases in Queensland that week.

Of those confirmed new cases, 62 were in Mackay.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the new testing was efficient.

Mrs Gilbert said the testing technology would help "the hospital manage admission and care for those who need it most”.

According to HealthDirect, there are three types of flu virus.

Influenza A is more serious than B and C, and was the only type known to cause widespread outbreaks.

Type B flu is found only in humans, WebMD reports, and although it might cause less severe reactions than type A, could "still be extremely harmful”.


Topics:  cameron dick dr pieter nel flu influenza julieanne gilbert mackay base hospital pandemic queensland health sickness virus

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