September Flu Update

Friday, October 29, 2010 // Uncategorized

9/12/2009 1:30:09 PM

Seasonal flu vaccine is plentiful this year.  Usually, we like to give it in October and November.  This year, faced with having to give an additional vaccine, we decided to start giving it as soon as it was available.  There is a lot of H1N1 flu circulating.  It’s mainly being reported in universities.  It doesn’t seem to be any worse than usual flu viruses and most people get well within a few days.  I don’t encourage people to take Tamiflu as this doesn’t seem to have dramatic effects.  If we use too much Tamiflu there is a concern that it will cause widespread resistance which may be incorporated into other more severe flu viruses like Avian flu.  Rest, Advil, fluids and times cures most of these individuals.  A sudden rise in temperature during the recovery period may indicate a secondary infection which we treat with antibiotics.

There is good news about the H1N1 vaccine:

H1N1 Update: Early Results on Vaccine Indicate One Dose May Be Sufficient for Most Groups
Preliminary studies of two vaccines against 2009 H1N1 virus reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine are “reassuring.”
Using a variety of dosages and schedules, the industry-supported studies, done in Australia and the U.K., comprised some 300 healthy adults and evaluated the immunogenicity of the vaccines 3 weeks after administration. (One vaccine, derived from viruses grown in cell culture and not hens’ eggs, contained adjuvant, which is not expected to be licensed for use in the U.S. this year.)
The immune response to a single 15-μg dose of unadjuvanted vaccine was rated as “robust” by researchers. Both vaccines showed good immunogenicity. The journal’s editorialist says the data suggest that the single 15-μg dose “should be immunogenic” in the groups prioritized for vaccination; however, younger children will probably still require two shots. Side effects included tenderness at the injection site and pain.
The editorialist observes: “It is reassuring that the manufacturing process for these vaccines is identical to that used for seasonal vaccines, which have a strong record of safety.”

When the vaccine becomes available at the end of October we will try to immunize high risk individuals first.  These key populations include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

Stay tuned for more flu information.


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