I have been down with a bad sore throat, cough and fever since Thursday. The GP who treated me gave me panadol, antibiotics and lozenges and told me to rest for a few days at home. I have been oscillating between okay and lousy for the past few days. I tried to find out from the Ministry of Health website[Link] whether I'm suppose to report somewhere for testing but can't find simple instructions on what to do (anyone can advise?). I take it that the GP did the right thing to send me home instead of to the hospital for testing. I wonder how practical it is to test every single person with the H1N1 symptoms - its is exactly like regular flu and every year hundreds of thousands of people get the flu. Sending every person with a cough and fever will cause the hospital to be flooded. My guess is the the GP sent me home instead of the hospital because I have not been overseas. I wonder if this criteria makes sense. I take the MRT in which humans are packed like sardines and there are people on the train who come from the airport and I eat at a canteen where the people go overseas regularly for assignments. I think my chance of being an H1N1 case is 50-50. So far H1N1=flu so I'm not too worried.
I don't think it is practical for the H1N1 to be contained in Singapore where the population density is so high and so many people travel on the crowded public transport. We are vulnerable to disease spreading and are always among the worst hit when something like SARS or H1N1 comes around.
I think the real tipping point will be next week when school children return from their holidays. The H1N1 has an incubation of 1-7 days so avoiding people who look sick or have a temperature might not be enough to stem its spread. Since the H1N1 outbreak, I've avoided being close to people who are sick on the train, bus and canteen....yet I'm down with this flu. In an air con environment flu viruses travel more than a meter and fluids left by the sick person on the MRT pole or handle can spread the virus long after he leaves the train.