In its monthly “Health Trends” report released Nov. 20, researchers at Quest Diagnostics Inc. found that demand for the company’s 2009 H1N1 influenza virus test kit started to slide since Oct. 27. Positive test results also began to drop across most age groups and in most regions of the country, according to the report.
There were two important exceptions to the otherwise positive news. Infection rates continued to grow in the Northeast, more than doubling during the two weeks ended Nov. 10 compared with the prior two weeks. Swine Flu also remains a significant risk to older adults, with the rate of infection tripling in people over age 65 since late August, the study found.
The researchers for Madison, N.J.-based Quest based their findings on the results of over 142,000 tests for the influenza strain using the company’s test kits — the first to be allowed by U.S. regulators to identify the H1N1 virus. Overall, 99 percent of the tests administrated thus far were positive for the flu.
Regulators in Europe earlier this week likewise gave their nod allowing use of the Quest’s Focus test for Swine Flu.