Labs Improving Influenza Testing in Hawaii

Glenn Furuya
Glenn Furuya
Diane Kumashiro
Diane Kumashiro

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Three private laboratories in Hawaii have partnered with the State Department of Health to improve the way they test for influenza.

It's a way to increase and improve influenza testing in Hawaii.

Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii is implementing new technology that will allow for faster response time in verifying, and monitoring flu cases in Hawaii.

"The sooner you can get the information to the clinic the sooner they can treat the patient and deal with the illness," said Glenn Furuya.

With this new testing, doctors can detect and identify a flu virus in it's earliest stages.

"It takes a half an hour to do each sample manually whereas with the system you can do 32 in about 90-minutes or so," said Diane Kumashiro.

It's a big difference from how testing was done in the past, with more accurate test results.

Invaluable information for doctors.

"The older test was a rapid test so it was a lot of manual stuff but with this newer instrument you can put more specimens on to the instrument, deal with testing more easily than manual."

Some are affected by the flu virus in different ways. Early detection is key in treating most patients.

"The children and the older people, whose immune systems aren't working as well, those people will benefit most from early diagnosis and early intervention," said Kumashiro.

Doctors say it's a big step forward in preparing for an influenza pandemic or severe flu season in hawaii.

Diagnostic Laboratories from Kaiser Permanente, and Diagnostic Laboratory Services are the two other clinics partnered with the State Departnment of Health with this new way of testing for influenza.