diagnosis of swine flu: wieghting between false positive and false negative

professor viroj wiwanitkit, director, physician,
September 15, 2010

Editor, I read the recent publication by Mann et al. with a great interest. Mann et al. concluded that " There is a significant risk of harm with false-positive diagnoses and potential delays in appropriate treatment [1]." I agree that there are several problem in diagnosis of swine flu. Several problems can lead to the failure of using any scoring system or algorithm for diagnosis [2-3]. On the other hands, although several new diagnostic tools can be availble, the problem of false positive can be seen. How to manage and weight for risk and benefit on using simple method with possible false negative and new modern tools with possible high cost and false positive should be the topic to be discussed.


1. Mann C, Wood D, Davies P. An evaluation of the UK National Pandemic Flu Service swine flu algorithm in hospitalised children, and comparison with the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence fever guideline. Emerg Med J. 2010 Sep 3. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Wiwanitkit V. Scoring system for diagnosis of swine flu. Heart Lung. 2010 Jul-Aug;39(4):345-6.

3. Wiwanitkit V.Swine flu: the present pandemic infectious disease. Kulak Burun Bogaz Ihtis Derg. 2009 Mar-Apr;19(2):57-61.

Conflict of Interest:


Conflict of Interest

None declared