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Brazil to cut back on A/H1N1 flu testing: minister
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Brazil will reduce its testing of flu cases for the A/H1N1 flu virus to only the most serious cases or cases that suggest a new outbreak, Jose Gomes Tamprao, health minister, said Friday.

"The official recommendation is for people experiencing flu symptoms to go to their nearest doctor," he said.

According to the minister, the disease can be treated with normal anti-viral medicines within the first five days. "There is no relationship between doing, or not, the diagnostic test and the evolution of the illness," he said.

He also told people how to distinguish between cold symptoms and flu symptoms, saying "If there is no fever, or complications, then there is no need to run to the doctor. If there is a fever alongside coughing, joint pain or sore throat, then see a doctor."

"If a patient not sick enough for hospitalization, no sample will be taken to test for the flu. If the patient does need a hospital, then 68 reference hospitals are standing by, " he said, adding that "We want to guarantee beds for those that really need them."

Temporao also said that there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission in Brazil, and its mortality rate is around 0.4 percent, similar to that of normal flu.

Brazil has reported one death from A/H1N1 flu, an inter-city bus driver who had traveled to Argentina at the start of June and died on June 29.

The ministry raised the number of confirmed cases to 756 Friday and said nearly all the cases either fully recovered or were recovering well.

(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2009)

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