Thursday 20th December 1990   Morning surgery  10:34

“It’s not the flu, Mrs Vaughan. You’ve got a cold.”
“Aren’t we in the middle of an influenza epidemic?”
“Yes, we are.”
“I was under the impression, Dr Dennis, that, in a flu epidemic, any patient with an infection of the upper respiratory tract such as a cold is likely to have the flu virus.”
“That’s right, Mrs Vaughan.”
“And am I correct in saying that some patients with the flu virus have no symptoms at all?”
“You are.”
“Research has been done that proves that?”
“It has.”
“Well, if we are in the middle of an epidemic and I’ve actually got symptoms, I would have thought that I almost certainly have the flu. It stands to reason.”
“Ah . . . I see what you are getting at, Mrs Vaughan. I can understand the confusion. You mean that you’ve got the flu virus. However, as you have so clearly pointed out, having the flu virus is not the same as having the flu. There’s a subtle difference. That, I think, is where I come in. That’s what I’ve been trained for.”

It’s not the flu, Mrs Vaughan.