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At the heart of general practice since 1960

College is monitoring viral spread

Dr Catherine Hutchinson asks how many GPs routinely carry out viral swabs on throats and noses in this country ('GPs will be left to mop up after the swine flu media cyclone').

The answer is a network of more than 50 sentinel practices distributed throughout the UK, co-ordinated by the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre - formerly the Birmingham Research Unit - via the National Virology Laboratory at Colindale.

This enables changes in the epidemiological patterns of human respiratory viruses to be studied. For more details go to www.rcgp.org.uk and click on Clinical and Research, then BRU.

From Dr Mike Thompson, Portslade, East Sussex

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