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Flu Information for Health Care Professionals

Important information about this year's Flu from Ravi Jhaveri, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

The Flu season is well underway in 2013-2014. At this point, the activity is in line with an "average" year, but that still means plenty of infections and some deaths.

Flu strains

Current testing shows that most of the Flu strains now are the "pandemic" 2009 Influenza A H1N1. This strain has reasserted itself after several seasons of lower activity. They appear to match well with the H1N1 component in this year’s vaccine. This means that your patients will still receive benefit from being vaccinated if they have not already received a Flu shot.

Treating patients

Given that testing for Flu is now widespread, we have received many questions about whom to treat. This is particularly true for infants younger than 6 months, where there is no FDA approved indication for using Tamiflu (oseltamivir). The AAP/CDC have put together a very well written information sheet that offers guidance for making decisions on treatment, including dose information for the youngest infants.

In addition to the information provided above, we also suggest reviewing the following reccomendations:

  1. Infants with Flu are at high risk for complications of the infection, and treatment for that population seems logical. However, despite the guidance from the AAP and CDC, it is important to discuss with parents that while smaller studies have shown the drug to be safe in infants, using Tamiflu in infants less than 6 months is not FDA approved. There may be rare side effects that become apparent when many more infants are treated. This should be discussed, parents should agree and this agreement should be documented by the provider.  
  2. This paper offers further guidance on dosing of Tamiflu for infants 9-12 months. For these infants, a dose of 3.5 mg/kg BID achieved drug levels likely to be more effective for treating Flu. These results are too new to have made it into official publications so providers need to make a note of this.

For more information...

Please refer to these key links for the most up to date Influenza information:

 

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