Saturday, January 07, 2006

"A load of tosh," or . . .

If I were Dr Johan du Plessis, clinical director of Casualty Plus, an ambulatory care company in the UK that is selling bird flu tests to the public at $280 a pop (£160), I'd need a boat load of sleeping pills to sleep at night. But I'm guessing the good doctor sleeps soundly in his silk sheets and downy comforters in some nice neighborhood.

The Scotsman reports that shortly after the news of the deaths of two teenagers in Turkey, this private health care company started to offer people the tests at eight locations in London:
Casualty Plus said it would offer a test for the deadly H5N1 flu strain from 8am today at its centre in Brentford, London, and "Medicentres" at seven London train stations.

Test results should be available within 24 hours.

Dr Johan du Plessis, clinical director of Casualty Plus, said: "It's particularly important to use early detection systems to monitor the appearance of this type of virus."

The firm denied it was scare-mongering, saying the test would reassure people, particularly if they had been to the Far East or worked in the livestock industry. (The Scotsman)
Someone who was not reassured was a leading flu expert:
However, Professor Hugh Pennington, one of Britain's leading microbiologists, told The Scotsman the idea of testing people in Britain for bird flu was "a load of tosh".

"Clearly there will be a lot of people going into work feeling absolutely rotten with the normal bugs going around," he said. "They will see a guy offering a test and take it. But they will be coughing up money that will do them no good and may cause them concern. The chances of someone in London having bird flu is so minuscule that it is zero for all practical purposes."
"A load of tosh." One way to put it. Here's another: "What a bunch of assholes." Take your choice.