Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pigs on the Wing (Swine Flu Update)

This situation is rapidly evolving, and nobody really knows exactly what is going on, but most agree on three things: (1) the H1N1 virus in question represents a new virus, one that contains elements of pig, avian and human viruses, (2) the H1N1 strain in this year’s flu vaccine in unlikely to provide protection, and (3) human-to-human transmission is occurring (though with what efficiency is not clear). The U.S. isolates that have been tested so far are susceptible to the neuraminadase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir) but resistant to amantadine and rimantidine.

The CDC site I pointed to yesterday is still the best source of up-to-date information, and contains links to other sites on infection control issues, antiviral use, WHO information on the situation in Mexico, etc. As of today we have two additional cases in Kansas (a husband and wife who recently traveled to Mexico), and as surveillance becomes widespread across the country I predict we’ll be adding other states to the list very soon.

For those of us on the front lines of hospital infection prevention, this is another chance to test bioemergency preparedness as we ensure that our hospital wards, clinics and labs can respond effectively to the arrival of this new influenza strain.
P.S. I told you this story was moving fast. Coming soon to a locale near you!

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