SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – When 38-year-old Sydney accountant Peter Preston presented to his local GP earlier this week with coryzal symptoms, lethargy and a high temperature, he assumed he was just the latest victim of a wave of flu-like illness. He was taken aback to discover that there was in fact, nothing going around – at all. With victims of viral illness traditionally reassured that “there has been a lot of that going around” or “people have been going down like flies,” the bemused bean-counter was surprised to hear that, in fact, he was it.
“It’s really remarkable. There’s always something going around, isn’t there? But the data don’t lie -it’s pretty much just Peter right now. Pretty spectacular stuff out of a population of 5 million or so.”
Hospital-based infection control zealots have been quick to claim credit. Wendy Uptight, NSW Health Head of Handwashing Audit, Sticking Plastic Drapes Over Stuff in the Anaesthetic Bay, and Lengthy Arcane Protocol Development, says the news is a big win for middle management.
“It’s clear we’re on the right track, and that the state-wide appointment of 360,000 infection control officers is starting to pay dividends. Sure, we’ve been unable to employ any frontline nursing or medical staff for the last 14 months but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been worth it.”
Fortunately for primary care providers, the downturn in coughs and colds has been more than matched by a spike in the incidence of prescription-opioid-down-plughole, mirroring recent U.S. trends.