City Health Information
Volume 32 (2013) New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene No. 3; 11-18
 

IN THIS ISSUE

 

Influenza Prevention and Control, 2013-2014
  • Vaccinate everyone aged 6 months and older against influenza as early as possible.
  • Give inactivated vaccine to all pregnant women in any trimester.
  • Get your flu vaccination as soon as vaccine becomes available and ensure that your staff does the same.

 

ANTIVIRAL MEDICATIONS

Antiviral agents can be life-saving treatments in patients with high-risk conditions (46). Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) capsules and zanamivir (Relenza®) oral inhalation are active against influenza A and B viruses and are most effective in reducing severity of influenza illness when administered within 48 hours after illness onset (47). Oseltamivir is indicated for treatment of uncomplicated acute influenza illness in patients aged 2 weeks and older who have been symptomatic for no more than 2 days (47). Zanamivir is indicated for treatment of uncomplicated acute influenza illness in patients aged 7 years and older who have been symptomatic for no more than 2 days; it is not recommended for people with underlying respiratory disease (eg, asthma, COPD) (47). Both agents may also be used as chemoprophylaxis for health care workers and people at higher risk for complications if vaccine is medically contraindicated (46). Two other antiviral agents, amantadine and rimantadine, are active only against influenza A viruses and are not recommended for treatment or prophylaxis of currently circulating viruses due to drug resistance (46). Inactivated influenza vaccine can be administered to patients who receive influenza antiviral drugs for treatment or chemoprophylaxis, but LAIV should not be administered until 48 hours after cessation of these agents (2).

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