Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


mystery diagnosis
October 9, 2009 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Did the hospital save my blood samples and could they be retested? Would swine flu cause a positive test for regular flu?

In March I was in the hospital for 7 days with an undiagnosed virus. In April the swine flu was identified and the county I reside in had the highest # of infections in my state and my town's schools closed for 2 days due to student infections. While in the hospital I tested negative for regular flu, but was not tested for swine flu becuase it was not a known issue yet. So if I had swine flu, would my regular flu test have come back positive? If not, is there any chance the hospital would have saved any of my exorbitant amount of blood samples and could those samples be retested? If I gave a new sample, would that test positive for swine flu fighting blood particles (or, um, whatever fights viruses) now that I am recovered?

Thanks for any help!
posted by WeekendJen to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If I gave a new sample, would that test positive for swine flu fighting blood particles (or, um, whatever fights viruses) now that I am recovered?

Antibodies, they're a kind of protein. And I think the answer is yes, they stay around for a long time. But I have now idea how/where you could be tested for it.
posted by Sova at 1:32 PM on October 9, 2009


If not, is there any chance the hospital would have saved any of my exorbitant amount of blood samples and could those samples be retested?

You could call the hospital's lab and ask.
posted by kathrineg at 2:33 PM on October 9, 2009


I think the test for influenza would have come back positive if you had had swine flu.
posted by thewalrusispaul at 2:37 PM on October 9, 2009


Rapid flu tests (usually a nasal swab) can distinguish type A and type B flu in about 30 min, (and it's only so accurate). It doesn't detect subgroups of flu, the only way to test for this is with a CDC rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel assay. Swine Flu is a type A flu, and you probably would have been positive if you had it. In fact, you probably had more accurate labs done, and re-done.

You could, in theory, have your blood serum tested for it. However I don't believe a test for immunity for swine flu exists yet, or is commercially available. Chicken pox, measles, etc, can all be tested.

Not a nurse or doctor myself, but my mom's (RN) office protocol for flu is this: test for A and B. If positive, give anti-virals as appropriate, if A, take another sample and send it to the CDC. If seasonal flu hasn't hit yet, and you've got type A, you most likely have swine flu.
posted by fontophilic at 2:41 PM on October 9, 2009


No chance your routine samples are still around. We discard ours after 7 days.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:22 PM on October 9, 2009


I've not heard anything about Swine flu going undetected on normal flu screening; as fontophilic says, it's type-A flu, and shows up on type-A flu tests, which are totally standard. So flu negative = no flu, including swine flu.

They will have chucked your samples.
posted by Coobeastie at 2:55 AM on October 10, 2009


« Older How do you communicate effecti...   |  What well-known novels lack an... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.