The use of antiviral agents during an (impending) influenza pandemic

W Opstelten, J E van Steenbergen, G A van Essen, M A B Van der Sande

Research output: Contribution to journalReview

Abstract

The preventive and therapeutic principles during an (impending) influenza pandemic differ fundamentally from those prevailing during the annual episodes ofinfluenza. Pending the availability of an effective pandemic vaccine, neuraminidase inhibitors are the only effective agents for the prevention and treatment of infections caused by a pandemic influenza virus. The development of an influenza pandemic has 6 phases: phases 3-5 reflect an increasing threat; phase 6 represents a manifest pandemic. During phases 3-5, a maximum effort is made to prevent or delay a pandemic. Neuraminidase inhibitors should be given not only to patients but also to their close contacts (post-exposure prophylaxis). During phase 6, post-exposure prophylaxis is no longer indicated and neuraminidase inhibitors are prescribed for all patients with symptoms ofpandemic influenza. Prophylaxis without preceding close contact with an influenza patient (primary prophylaxis) is recommended only in exceptional cases. Physicians should not prescribe antiviral drugs on demand to concerned citizens for stockpiling.

Original languageDutch
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Volume151
Issue number18
Pages (from-to)1008-12
Number of pages5
ISSN0028-2162
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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