All in Info for Doctors

The Georgia Department of Community Health is pleased to offer a six-part web-based lecture series on influenza and pandemic influenza to all Georgia primary care physicians. This series was conceived by the Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response. The purpose is to provide Georgia physicians with the most up-to-date information on influenza-related topics to better serve your patients and your community. This series was inspired by the recent influenza pandemic with an eye toward helping the medical community to be better prepared for future pandemics.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has just published an updated, detailed document regarding the use of antiviral medications for influenza. Click here for a PDF version to read or download.

ACIP is an advisory committee within the CDC. The ACIP influenza work group meets monthly throughout the year to consider newly published research studies and to update recommendations regarding influenza vaccine and antiviral medications for the treatment of flu.

The widespread use of influenza rapid tests was not recommended during the 2009/2010 H1N1 Pandemic because the existing rapid tests were not designed to detect the 2009 A H1N1 pandemic virus and had sensitivities well under 50%. The CDC recommended treatment based on two factors: symptoms and risk factors for complications due to influenza infection.

Physicians know that patients become angry when they get markedly different advice from one physician to the next. The anger stems from confusion over what to believe, particulary during a time of crisis such as a severe flu season or pandemic. This confusion can lead to unnecessary visits to health care facilities in an effort to "doctor shop" for a doctor with the answer they want. 

On May 14, 2010 the CDC posted their final estimate of the number of infected Americans, number of hospitalizations, and number of deaths due to 2009 H1N1 since the start of the Pandemic in April of 2009. These revised estimates include approximately 59 million infected; 265,000 hospitalized;  and 12,000 deaths. These are estimates, not raw numbers, and are based on the assumption that most people with 2009 H1N1 are never tested, including many who have died. 

A new article was published in "British Medical Journal" in December 2009 reviewing the effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors in healthy adults. The outcome of this meta-analysis was that neuraminidase inhibitors (Tamiflu, Relenza) have "only modest effectiveness against the symptoms of influenza in otherwise healthy adults".