Background The authors' emergency department (ED) served as Singapore's screening centre for influenza H1N1 cases. The aims of the study were to describe their screening experience and to compare clinical and laboratory features of H1N1 versus seasonal flu cases.
Methodology The authors conducted a prospective observational study on consecutive patients aged 16 years and above presenting to a busy, urban ED for H1N1 screening over 50 days. Clinical, laboratory, radiological and PCR data were collected from the hospital electronic databases. Primary outcomes were proportions of confirmed H1N1 cases and their distribution of clinical, laboratory and radiological features. Secondary outcomes were comparison of clinical and laboratory features of H1N1 versus seasonal flu cases. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and univariate analysis was used to compare factors between the two groups. A p value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results 1205 patients were screened. 31 (2.6%) and 133 (11%) of them had H1N1 and seasonal flu infections, respectively. The two groups had similar symptoms. There were six clinical and two laboratory features with statistically significant differences between H1N1 and seasonal flu cases. Clinical factors were travel or contact history, median age, respiratory rate, diastolic blood pressure and length of hospital stay. Laboratory factors were median platelet and lymphocyte counts.
Conclusions The authors report their experience as the nation's H1N1 screening centre. They identified factors that were different between H1N1 and seasonal flu cases. Future research is needed to elucidate if and how this information can be used as a screening tool for H1N1.
- infectious disease
- clinical management
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the National Healthcare Group, Domain Specific Research Board (DSRB).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.