Concerns about the effectiveness of flu surveillance systems during the early phase of the swine flu pandemic were misplaced, according to research published on bmj.com today. An analysis of samples from members of the public who called NHS Direct with cold or flu-like symptoms during June 2009 closely matched local transmission rates in six regions of England. As laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza A ( H1N1 ) steadily increased in England during May 2009, there was growing concern that existing surveillance systems were failing to recognise 'sustained community transmission.' So a scheme of self-sampling, which had been piloted during the winter of 2003-2004, was resumed to enhance the monitoring of local virus transmission.
Lloydspharmacy has revealed a new report that suggests the government's use of the internet and call centres to deal with the swine flu pandemic could pave the way for a rapid growth in remote diagnosis and prescriptions. This was just one of the conclusions found in the report by the Future Foundation*. Judith Kleine Holthause, the report's lead author, said:"Despite its clinical shortcomings, the use of the internet and call centres for diagnosing swine flu and distributing medication demonstrates that remote diagnosis can be an efficient way of dealing with certain conditions." The Future Foundation forecasts that 37% of people will be using the web for medical information by 2020 (up from 14% in 2009) and that a variety of social and economic factors will lead to a substantial market for online diagnosis and prescriptions in the future.
A delegation of five U.S. members of Congress traveling in Africa "pledged to woo the U.S. business community to invest in Rwanda, " New Times/allAfrica.com reports. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who is leading the delegation, "said that Rwanda has proven to be one of the most favourable places to do business and it would be a major destination for U.S. investors, " the publication writes. "I think the U.S. can continue to send individuals here, businessmen especially, that would invest in Rwanda and also help the people of Rwanda. I think this is very important, " Meeks said. He said that President Obama will continue supporting initiatives aimed at combating diseases in African countries and that the president will support USAID projects that empower people and improve health (Kagire, 9/3).
Town Hall meetings continue to feature unexpected events. The New York Times reports, for example, that conservatives are hungry for a real debate beyond the rhetoric at these events: "Far from embracing the attacks, many leading conservative health care policy experts said in recent interviews that the dynamic was precluding a more robust real-world debate while making it nearly impossible for them to inject their studied, free-market solutions into the discussions. â Their argument holds that they can find (health care cost savings) with real efforts to decrease redundant procedures due to poor record keeping - causing a doctor, for instance, to prescribe an expensive test a patient has already had - and the correction of similarly exorbitant inefficiencies throughout the system" (Rutenberg and Harris, 9/2).
Kansas State University's commitment to the intersection of animal and human health is guiding the World Rabies Day National Symposium, taking place Saturday, Sept. 19, at the K-State Alumni Center. The university's student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association had the highest documented student participation in its 2008 World Rabies Day events within the United States and it's territories, making K-State the site for the 2009 symposium. The symposium contest is hosted by the Alliance for Rabies Control, a nonprofit organization that developed the World Rabies Day campaign. The symposium sponsor is Merial, one of the world's leading animal health companies.
Twelve nurses have been elected to join the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) ruling council. The Council represents almost 400, 000 nurses and healthcare assistants across the UK. Carol Watts has been elected by members in the Eastern region. She is a Specialist Substance Misuse Nurse for Young People in Cambridgeshire and has been active in the branch for over 10 years. Members in the London Region have elected Andrew McGovern, who has been an RCN steward for 10 years. Andrew has been a member of the RCN Council before, following election as a student member in 2000. Dave Dawes has been elected by members in the North West region. Dave has been a branch activist, steward and forum activist since 1990.