Swine flu rip-off

THE private health sector is making a killing out of the swine flu scare.

Hundreds of patients are reported to be queueing at clinics and surgeries to test for the H1N1 virus, whileothers flock to pharmacies to buy medicines.

Some private hospitals are charging more than R1000 for a test. Milpark Hospital, which falls under the Netcare group, charges R1030 a test, while Morningside Medi-Clinic charges R545,excluding lab fees.

The exorbitant fees have outraged Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the SA Medical Association.

Motsoaledi described the practice as unnecessary, saying doctors should only refer specific cases for testing if swine flu was suspected.

Sama also advised the public to refrain from taking medication against swine flu as a preventative measure.

Meanwhile, three more Transkei schools were affected by outbreaks of mass hysteria yesterday.

Scores of pupils, mostly girls, at two Mthatha schools were taken to hospital on Tuesday after they complained of headaches and collapsed.

But, the Eastern Cape health department said they were all discharged the same day.

Yesterday, 65 children from two more schools were taken to the Mthatha Hospital after exhibiting similar symptoms.

There are more than 1900 confirmed swine flu cases in South Africa, with three deaths. The latest victim, a 42-year-old man, died in Cape Town yesterday.