July Swine flu outbreak shows Tamiflu Ineffective
2009-10-20 0:00

By Maggie Fox | Reuters.com

The outbreak provided a unique opportunity to study the virus closely and Dr. Catherine Takacs Witkop and colleagues say they discovered some surprising things: Tamiflu, the drug used to treat influenza, did not help any of the previously healthy young men and women get better any quicker.


More than 100 new cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy got infected with swine flu at a July 4 barbecue and fireworks display but quick isolation measures got it under control within two weeks, researchers reported on Tuesday.

The outbreak provided a unique opportunity to study the virus closely and Dr. Catherine Takacs Witkop and colleagues say they discovered some surprising things. Among them:

* Nearly a quarter, or 24 percent, of patients still had virus in their noses seven days after getting sick, including 19 percent who had been well for at least 24 hours

* Tamiflu, the drug used to treat influenza, did not help any of the previously healthy young men and women get better any quicker.

* Most cadets were sick for five days or longer

* Eleven percent of the cadets became infected.


In June, soon after the new H1N1 virus was declared a pandemic, 1,376 new cadets arrived for their first training at the academy, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. By July 24, 134 confirmed and 33 suspected cases were identified, Witkop's team reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The cadets, unusually young and healthy, all did well and none became seriously ill or died. Most cases were traced to a July 4 party for the cadets, Witkop said.

"It was about 48 to 72 hours later that we saw the increase in the cadets presenting with the symptoms," Witkop said in a telephone interview.

Witkop said the academy doctors quickly designated one dormitory for the sick cadets and kept them away from the others.

They tested them daily for the virus, painting a picture of the course of the disease far more detailed than has been possible before.

IN THE NOSE

Eleven, or 19 percent, of nose washes taken from 58 patients who had been free of symptoms for a full 24 hours still contained virus, although it is not clear if the patients were still contagious.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that H1N1 patients can return to work and school 24 hours after their symptoms such as fever go away.

The CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat said researchers know people, especially children, can carry the virus long after they are better. "Shedding doesn't mean you are spreading," Schuchat told reporters in a telephone briefing. "Fever is a good marker of infectiousness or ability to spread."

Many of the cadets were treated with oseltamivir, pills sold by Roche AG under the Tamiflu brand name, but they did not get better any more quickly than untreated cadets.

"We did use it in the hope that we would stem the tide of the outbreak but I don't think the Tamiflu was the key player in the outreak resolution," Witkop said.

"I think it was ... the isolation protocol," she added. Cadets stayed in the sick dorm until they were free of symptoms for 24 hours, or for seven days after first getting sick, whichever was longer.

The CDC recommends saving Tamiflu for people most at risk of getting severely ill from flu, such as pregnant women, people with diabetes or asthma or disabled children.

The academy also quickly educated the cadets about washing hands and not spreading germs by covering their coughs, and Witkop said they used a great deal of hand sanitizer, which may have helped control the outbreak within 10 to 14 days.

Article from: Reuters.com



Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Anglo-Saxon Sword and Helmet from Staffordshire Hoard Reconstructed
2015-05-29 0:49
Thousands of metal fragments from the Staffordshire Hoard have been reconstructed into two "significant" new 7th Century objects. Researchers have pieced together parts of a silver helmet and a previously unseen form of sword pommel. The hoard, which is valued at £3.2m, was found in a field near Burntwood, Staffordshire in July 2009. Both items have been put on display at Birmingham's Museum ...
ALEC corruption: Legislators and corporate lobbyists meet in secret at Savannah resort
2015-05-28 23:59
The Georgia Legislature has a message for voters: don't ask us about our meetings with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors. The 11Alive Investigators tracked lawmakers to a resort hotel in Savannah last week, where we observed state legislators and lobbyists mingling in the hotel bar the night before they gathered in private rooms to decide what new laws would best serve ...
Swedish politician: US is the true cause of the masses of refugees from the Middle East
2015-05-28 20:13
Editors Note: And who controls US foreign policy? Listen to Jeff Gates. The present Swedish debate about war refugees from the Middle East is an example of peer restricted expression. In the name of political correctness or perceived decency, any questioning of maximum generosity in opening Swedish borders for the refugees is indignantly rejected by the official mainstream. We have a ...
Even if Patriot Act Expires, Government Will Keep Spying on All Americans
2015-05-28 19:52
Government Will Use "Secret Interpretations" to Get Around Legal Prohibitions Mass surveillance under the Patriot Act is so awful that even its author says that the NSA has gone far beyond what the Act intended (and that the intelligence chiefs who said Americans aren't being spied on should be prosecuted for perjury). Specifically, the government is using a "secret interpretation" of the ...
The TPP, Monsanto, Rockefeller, Trilateral Commission, Brzezinski
2015-05-28 19:18
All hands on deck for global, economic, corporate dictatorship There are dots to connect here. They're real, and they're spectacular. Let me begin with a brief exchange from a 1978 interview, conducted by reporter Jeremiah Novak. He was speaking with two American members of the Trilateral Commission (TC), a group founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller and his intellectual flunkey, Zbigniew Brzezinski. NOVAK: ...
More News »