Monday, December 15, 2008

Influenza update

The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine has a very helpful update in its December issue.

Points of interest:

The efficacy of last year’s vaccine was unusually low at 40%. This year’s vaccine is expected to perform better.

Although oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is still recommended, last season saw a concerning rise in resistance. Virtually no resistance has been seen with zanamivir (Relenza).

Forget amantadine (Symmetrel) or rimantadine (Flumadine). Resistance is way too high.

The predictive value of clinical assessment of patients is poor. Use point of care testing.

The author states: Health care providers should offer vaccination at every opportunity between October and May. This means going beyond the core performance measures for hospitalized patients.

There is now a vaccine against H5N1 (bird flu).

CDC recommendations regarding influenza are here.

Wikipedia has some nice images and graphics.

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