H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Early antiviral treatment, flu hot line, vaccine approval in Canada, children's vaccinations

Oct 19, 2009

CDC urges early antiviral use for some suspected flu patients
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today urged clinicians to start flu patients on antivirals early, without waiting for test results, particularly if they are hospitalized or have underlying conditions. In an e-mail alert the CDC said that though most people recover without treatment, clinical judgment should guide antiviral use, recommended for anyone who has lower respiratory symptoms or worsening symptoms. A negative rapid test does not exclude flu, the agency said.
CDC health advisory network

Minnesota plans flu hot line to screen patients, prescribe antivirals
Concerned that H1N1 and seasonal flu will overwhelm providers this winter, the Minnesota Department of Health plans to launch a statewide hot line to triage people and prescribe medicine over the phone, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported today. Officials said the service will offer quick access to antiviral drugs for people at risk and also help people who lack health insurance. The service will be financed with $5 million in federal emergency funds. The launch date has not been set.
Oct 16 Star Tribune story

Canada edges closer to pandemic vaccine approval, launch
Canada may approve its pandemic H1N1 vaccine as early as this week, which could set the stage for immunizations against the virus to begin later this month, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported yesterday. An unnamed source said about 1 million doses have already been delivered to provinces and territories. Canada has ordered 50 million doses of an adjuvanted vaccine made domestically by GlaxoSmithKline.
Oct 18 Globe and Mail story

Japan launches pandemic vaccine campaign
Japan started administering its first pandemic H1N1 doses today, starting with healthcare workers, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. So far Japan has a limited supply of a domestically produced vaccine, enough for 1.18 million people. The health ministry said in early November that the vaccination priority will shift to pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions and that by late December the campaign will include babies and small children.
Oct 19 AFP story

CDC offers guidance for vaccinating children in primary care clinics
The CDC has released a planning guide for vaccinating children against H1N1 in primary care settings. The guidance, published Oct 16, includes checklists that cover items such as staffing needs, billing and reimbursement, storage capacity, and safety monitoring, along with links to additional resources. Other CDC guidance documents released on Oct 16 cover influenza triage and antiviral treatment for children and updated general recommendations on antiviral use.
CDC planning guide for vaccinating children in primary care settings

Eight more swine herds in Norway infected with H1N1
Eight more swine herds in one county in Norway have been found infected with the H1N1 virus, the pork industry Web site PigProgress.net reported on Oct 16. Because of concern about farmers spreading the virus to pigs, Agriculture Minister Lars Peder Brekk has asked that pig farmers get priority for H1N1 vaccination, the report said. Norway's first outbreak in pigs was reported in Nord Trondelag county a week ago.
Oct 16 PigProgress.net report

Clinic for the homeless aims to open overnight H1N1 ward
A clinic for homeless people in Salt Lake City is raising money to open an overnight ward for patients with pandemic H1N1 flu, the Salt Lake Tribune reported today. To keep flu patients out of crowded homeless shelters, the clinic currently puts flu patients in motel rooms and brings them meals and medication, but clinic officials said that strategy is not cost-effective. The Salt Lake Public Health Department has pledged $20,000 for the effort. Officials hope to open the ward by Thanksgiving.
Oct 19 Salt Lake Tribune story

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