Swine flu outbreak keeps pediatricians busy

May 1, 2009 3:20:19 PM PDT
Pediatricians' offices across our area have been packed with patients, ever since the swine flu outbreak started. [SWINE FLU: Symptoms, questions and answers and more]
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[CHAT TRANSCRIPT: Questions answered by local expert]
[TRAVEL ALERT: What the CDC wants you to know ]

Houston's pediatricians are being swamped with kids and a number are coming up with positive Type A flu tests. Now they're waiting to see if further tests show it's the regular flu, or the H1N1 virus which causes the swine flu.

It's been busy for Houston pediatricians like Dr. Norris Payne. He's done one more flu test for a sick child, Benjamin Russell.

"It turns out that Benjamin, even though he has the flu symptoms, he doesn't have the flu. He tested negative. He doesn't have flu air or swine flu," said Dr. Payne.

Instead Benjamin has strep throat which Dr. Payne said has similar symptoms, but strep sounded good to this family.

"It gave us a little bit of a scare," said Margaret Russell.

Benjamin was relieved. "Strep is OK, but swine flu's not so OK," said Benjamin.

Dr. Payne said recently that symptoms among their sick patients have been changing.

"About two to three weeks ago, I started seeing kids that were much sicker, tested positive for flu Type A. They were much sicker, and they had vomiting and diarrhea which we had not seen much of this flu season," said Dr. Payne.

The results from the second round of swine flu tests have not come back yet, so he treats any child with Type A flu with the medicines that will work for swine flu.

"We've seen in our office about eight to ten a day in the past two weeks. Some have been very ill and some have not. As soon as we found out about flu Type A, we've treated them with both anti-virals. Both the Amantadien and the Tamiflu and everyone has done well," said Dr. Payne.

We understand of the confirmed swine flu cases in Houston, just a few have been hospitalized but we don't know that exact number,

One of the big difficulties, Houston doctors told us, is that the health department lab and other labs are getting backed up and it takes a week to two weeks to get results. By that time, other people have already been exposed.

Fortunately, the doctors told us most of the kids will be well by that time.

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