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Have you heard the story about 'The #epidemic that wasn't'? These bizarre events took place in 2007, is a hospital in New Hampshire. Some things might sound familiar, living through the strange times today. It started when 1 of the doctors, had bad cough that lasted for weeks.
A colleague, specialized in infectious disease wondered if it was the start of whooping cough epidemic. When other health workers got the same severe cough, the idea of an epidemic was taken serious. If true containment measures are urgent as it is dangerous to babies and weak
patients. For months everyone was convinced the #epidemic was happening. Almost 1000 initial tests were done and 142 were diagnosed positive. All were given antibiotics and a vaccine. Eight months later the staff was informed it was false alarm. Not a single case was confirmed
with the definitive test: growing the bacteria that causes the illness, Pertussis. The illness among the staff ,was likely the common cold. The cause of the issue? Placing too much faith in quick test, namely the PCR test, likely to give false positives because its sensitivity.
So people had to choose between waiting maybe weeks for the bacteria grow test, or the quick test, that might be wrong. The severe cough is not a unique symptom to whooping, and some have symptoms similar to those of the common cold. So after the people with severe coughing,
they decided to test people who didn't have the hallmark severe cough. Thinking to protect vulnerable patients, they gave tests to anyone coughing or with a runny nose working with high risk patients. First the staff thought something went wrong with the bacterial test and… they did #antibody tests on 39 samples #PCR positive cases. All but one came back negative. Then additional PCR tests were done on 116 people who were positive before. Only 1 was positive now. A shame the story was not remembered and no lesson was learned
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