Respiratory tract infections (RTI) are common conditions that are encountered by family physicians. It was appropriate that we focus our first teaching seminar of 2015 on this common clinical problem. We were delighted to have been able to provide an update on influenza and pneumonia to 153 doctors on April 18th 2015.

Dr Lam Mun San spoke on the perennial problem of influenza. She started with a quick review of influenza and then highlighted significant events in the past 12 months. In particular, she discussed the impact of vaccine mismatch during the recent Northern Hemisphere 2014 / 2015 influenza season. Dr Lam then focused on avian influenza, especially H7N9 in China where most of the recent cases have come from. She also discussed the rationale of a quadrivalent influenza vaccine. This vaccine is already available in the US and we expect it to become registered in Singapore in the latter part of 2015.

Dr Shawn Vasoo, a new speaker in our series, has recently returned from the US, after completing his qualifications in both infectious diseases and medical microbiology. He gave an important update on the diagnostic tests recently available for RTI including rapid influenza antigen tests and the various nucleic acid testing platforms. He also focused on those that may soon become available as “Point of Care” testing.

Dr Wong Sin Yew spoke on community acquired pneumonia (CAP) and focused on the outpatient management of this condition. He discussed the various scoring systems that have been used to stratify patients to determine the appropriate location of care. He also spoke at length on 2 recent publications, firstly, the CAP START study which looked at the various antibiotic strategies for treatment of elderly patients hospitalized with CAP. Dr Wong also discussed the results of the recent CAPITA study which reported the efficacy of conjugated pneumococcal vaccine in the elderly against pneumococcal CAP and invasive pneumococcal disease.

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