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From Medicineworld.org: Controlling Yearly Influenza Epidemic

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Controlling Yearly Influenza Epidemic


To be ready for an avian flu pandemic - or global epidemic - the United States must demonstrate the ability to handle the "normal" influenza epidemic that occurs every year, say scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"Never missing an opportunity to vaccinate someone or educate the public about antiviral medication is one solution to controlling the yearly epidemic," says Dr. W Paul Glezen, professor of molecular virology and microbiology at BCM. "We must vaccinate as a number of people as possible to increase the amount of vaccines produced each year.".

Increasing the demand for the vaccines and antiviral medications will increase the amount manufactured and they may even be effective in controlling the avian influenza, or H5N1 strain of influenza.

"Right now there is no evidence that the avian flu viruses spread readily from person to person, but we are all very susceptible to this new strain of flu because we have not seen it circulate from human to human in our lifetime," says Glezen.

Antiviral influenza medications, which are also effective in treating and controlling influenza during the yearly epidemics, include amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamavir (Relenza).

Amantadine and rimantadine are usually used to treat influenza A, but are ineffective for the avian flu. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamavir (Relenza), effective against A and B viruses, would be more likely to reduce symptoms of the avian flu.

Another vaccine effective in controlling influenza is FluMist. The nasal-spray vaccine, made with the live attenuated virus, is available for healthy people ages 5 to 49 and is sprayed once into each nostril. A single dose provides almost immediate protection against the flu.


Did you know?
To be ready for an avian flu pandemic - or global epidemic - the United States must demonstrate the ability to handle the "normal" influenza epidemic that occurs every year, say scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston."Never missing an opportunity to vaccinate someone or educate the public about antiviral medication is one solution to controlling the yearly epidemic," says Dr. W Paul Glezen, professor of molecular virology and microbiology at BCM. "We must vaccinate as a number of people as possible to increase the amount of vaccines produced each year.".

Medicineworld.org: Controlling Yearly Influenza Epidemic

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