The following stories appear in full on today's Vidyya Medical News Service Web site.
It's that time of year. People moving about from place to place, busy shopping areas, busy air, bus and train terminals. It can only mean one thing. Excellent conditions for the spread of disease, in particular, influenza. Today's Vidyya focuses on this year's coming influenza outbreak, discusses the newer antiviral medications and takes a look at a hoax wherein people are trying to make money from the flu vaccine shortage.
A guidance has been prepared by the UK Department of Health and the National Assembly for Wales in conjunction with NICE. NICE recommends zanamivir for the treatment of at-risk adults who present within 36 hours of the onset of influenza like illness (ILI) when influenza is circulating within the community and who are able to commence treatment within 48 hours of the onset of these symptoms. Whether you are in the UK or anywhere else abroad, this document can help practitioners decide when to use zanamivir and like medications. We've even included a telephone triage form developed by the UK DHS to make it easier to determine who might need antiviral medications.
Although the influenza vaccine is the primary prevention measure for influenza, antiviral drugs for influenza are an important adjunct to influenza vaccine for the control and prevention of influenza. Four currently licensed agents are available in the United States: amantadine, rimantadine, zanamivir, and oseltamivir. By searching Vidyya, you can get the information you need on these medications.
An active surveillance program for influenza and influenza-like illness can help acute care facilities identify outbreaks of influenza early in their course and prevent influenza from spreading to patients and healthcare personnel, thereby decreasing influenza-related complications among patients and reducing work absenteeism. Read more about influenza surveillance in today's issue.
And finally, from the hoax department, the CDC has received reports of telephone calls asking for donations to purchase influenza vaccine for the elderly because of a flu vaccine shortage. The CDC is unaware of unaware of and does not support organizations soliciting funds for the purchase of flu vaccine for elderly Americans.
As always, we hope you enjoy the issue.