Influenza guideline for South Africa - Update 2008

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.
South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde (Impact Factor: 1.63). 03/2008; 98(3 Pt 2):224-30.
Source: PubMed


OBJECTIVE: The South African Thoracic Society, in conjunction with interested stakeholders, published a Guideline for Influenza Management in Adults in 1999. This year the South African Thoracic Society (SATS) identified the need to revise that guideline for the following reasons: * To indicate the viral strains that are to be incorporated into the vaccine for the 2008 season * To add important new data regarding treatment of influenza * To add a section on influenza in children * To clarify issues in managing and preventing influenza in HIV-infected individuals. INFLUENZA VIRUS: The influenza virus genus belongs to the family orthomyxoviridae. The haemagglutinin (HA) protein is the outermost protein, responsible for attachment to the host receptor, and is critical in determining the host's immune response to the virus. Changes in the antigenic epitopes of HA therefore allow the virus to escape the host's specific immune response. The genus is classified into three types, A, B and C, on the basis of the antigenic epitopes of the nucleoprotein (NP). Type A, which is widespread in nature in birds and mammals, is the most important type clinically and epidemiologically. It is further divided into subtypes on the basis of the antigenic epitopes of the HA and neuraminidase (NA) proteins. Each of the human subtypes H1N1, H2N2 and H3N2 are further subdivided into strains on the basis of more subtle antigenic properties of the HA protein. INFLUENZA VACCINATION: Influenza vaccine is the mainstay of influenza prevention strategies. All persons who are at high risk of influenza and its complications because of underlying medical conditions or who are receiving regular medical care for conditions such as chronic pulmonary and cardiac disease, chronic renal diseases, neuromuscular diseases, diabetes mellitus and similar metabolic disorders, and individuals who are immunosuppressed (including HIV-infected persons with CD4 counts above 100 cells/microl and HIV-infected children with CD4 counts >15%), should be vaccinated. Vaccines should be given from at least 2 months prior to the onset of autumn (March in South Africa). The recommended vaccine formulation for 2008 is: * A/Solomon Islands/3/2006 (H1N1) (IVR-145) * A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2) (IVR-147) * B/Florida/4/2006 or B/Brisbane/3/2007. TREATMENT OF INFLUENZA: Influenza illness is characterised by the acute onset of systemic and respiratory signs occurring in autumn or winter. Recommendations for the Prevention and Control of Influenza have indicated that neither amantadine nor rimantadine should be used for the treatment or chemoprophylaxis of influenza A. NA inhibitors are an important adjunct to influenza vaccination, in both the prevention and treatment of influenza. Because of concerns about the possibility of the development of viral resistance with overuse of these agents, it is recommended that NA inhibitors in the treatment of influenza should be reserved for high-risk or sicker influenza patients.

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