New York Times: "Blinder Glaube an Labortests führt zu Schein-Epidemien"

(ht) Im Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (USA) ist es im April 2006 zu einer Schein-Epidemie gekommen. Ursache waren Massenuntersuchungen mit Laborstests nach dem PCR-Verfahren, einem Gentest. Erst später stellte sich heraus, dass die angeblich Kranken gar keinen Keuchhusten hatten, sondern nur eine normale Erkältung. Wie Gina Kolata für der New York Times recherchierte, handelt es sich offenbar nicht um einen Einzelfall.


Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn't


"Dr. Brooke Herndon, an internist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, could not stop coughing. For two weeks starting in mid-April last year, she coughed, seemingly nonstop, followed by another week when she coughed sporadically, annoying, she said, everyone who worked with her.

Before long, Dr. Kathryn Kirkland, an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth, had a chilling thought: Could she be seeing the start of a whooping cough epidemic? By late April, other health care workers at the hospital were coughing, and severe, intractable coughing is a whooping cough hallmark. And if it was whooping cough, the epidemic had to be contained immediately because the disease could be deadly to babies in the hospital and could lead to pneumonia in the frail and vulnerable adult patients there.

It was the start of a bizarre episode at the medical center: the story of the epidemic that wasn't. (...)"
New York Times, 22. Jan. 2007

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