Wednesday, October 14, 2009

H1N1 spreads long after the fever stops

Drug ampoulesImage via Wikipedia

SAN FRANCISCO - When the coughing stops is probably a better sign of when an Influenza A (H1N1) patient is no longer contagious, experts said after seeing new research that suggests the virus can still spread many days after a fever goes away.

"This study shows you're not contagious for a day or two. You're probably contagious for about a week," said Mr Gaston De Serres, a scientist at the Institute of Public Health in Quebec.

He presented one of the studies on Monday at an American Society for Microbiology conference.

Three reports suggest this is so. Mr De Serres and other researchers in Canada took nose and throat swabs from 43 flu patients and dozens of sick family members.

On the eighth day after symptoms appeared, 19 to 75 per cent showed signs of virus remaining in their noses.

Dr David Lye reported on 70 patients treated at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore for Influenza A (H1N1).

He found that 80 per cent had the virus five days after symptoms began, and 40 per cent seven days after. Some patients still harboured virus 16 days later.

A third report came from Dr Guillermo Ruiz-Palacios of the National Institutes of Medical Science and Nutrition in Mexico, who said.

Infected people "shed the virus for a very, very long time", Dr Guillermo Ruiz-Palacios said. AP

From TODAY, World – Wednesday, 16-Sep-2009