MAJ President Dr. Brian James
The president of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) has said there is no evidence of a so-called 'bad flu' in Jamaica.
Dr. Brian James has based this on the results of tests conducted by the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
Some people on social media have been sharing their battle with symptoms of what many have labelled a 'bad flu'.
But Dr. James told Radio Jamaica News on Thursday that the numerous reports of 'bad flu' prompted him to check with the University Hospital of the West Indies whether there was any evidence to support those claims.
"[I called the] Virology Department to find out whether or not there is any evidence of an increased incidence of influenza circulating in the communities, and they were quite clear about it. The last time they had any indication that there was flu in Jamaica was from in the middle of last year," he declared.
Dr. James said persons have been complaining that they have a sore throat, "sniffles", a headache and sometimes a fever.
He noted that medical associations in other countries have been reporting similar observations, with citizens dismissing their symptoms as the flu.
"We had a meeting with the President of the South African Medical Association and that's precisely what she told us. She said that it was a big problem in South Africa because people did not even bother to test. So they believed that the numbers that we got out of South Africa were very, very...far below the actual numbers."
Dr. James explained that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 presents with an illness similar to the flu. As a result, he is urging Jamaicans with flu-like symptoms to get tested for COVID-19.
Still, the MAJ president indicated that it is possible for people exhibiting symptoms to test negative for COVID-19. For this reason, he said doctors are recommending a second test.
"I have seen patients where they have the symptoms, they go and get tested, it's negative. But they have the symptoms. So what we do is ask them to repeat it, and almost invariably it comes back positive if you actually are exhibiting the symptoms. The other thing is...which one of the tests you do. If you do an antigen test, there is a higher possibility, a higher incidence of false negative," he pointed out.