The pandemic influenza H1N1 have been here for quite a while now. i have not posted any articles on this. however looking at this current situation, i would like to take this chance to at least educate myself and readers on this outbreak.
first article from News Straits Times.
Influenza A(H1N1): 80,000 Malaysians may be infected
2009/08/16 by Annie Freeda Cruez
KUALA LUMPUR: An estimated 80,000 Malaysians may have been infected with influenza A (H1N1). According to the World Health Organisation, this is based on the number of confirmed cases reported by the Health Ministry since May.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, in revealing the startling figure, said to determine the number of cases in the community, the number of confirmed cases are multiplied by 20. He acknowledged that health services were straining under the weight of an increasing number of infected patients, with hospitals around the country seeing triple the number of patients compared with before the outbreak. Waiting time at some hospitals is up to four hours. Liow said doctors and healthcare staff were working around the clock to clear queues. “People have to wait for hours to be treated. It’s really congested.” He said the ministry could not reduce waiting time because of the high number of patients down with influenza-like illnesses. “What we have done is deploy more staff to outpatient departments and clinics to ease the congestion. “Doctors are trying their best to clear patients as quickly as possible but the number of people turning up every day is high, between 900 and 1,000.”
Liow said WHO had estimated that some 0.1 to 0.4 per cent of the population would die as a result of H1N1. “However, most deaths will be due to complications of underlying diseases in people with chronic cardiovascular, pulmonary, diabetes, renal disease and immunosuppression,” he told the New Sunday Times. He said 20 per cent of the population could be infected within a year. “The situation is serious. We have reached a stage where the virus cannot be stopped. It is spreading rapidly and many Malaysians are infected. It is now in the hands of people to stop the spread. “That people are flocking to hospitals and clinics show that Malaysians are now aware of H1N1 and its symptoms. People now seek treatment quickly.” Many private hospitals and clinics are performing rapid tests to determine if patients have H1N1. “We have provided anti-viral drugs to all private hospitals to treat patients with H1N1, those who are in the high-risk category, or had high fever continuously for two to three days.”
The ministry has issued clear guidelines to doctors in the public and private sectors as to whom they should prescribe the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, and who should be admitted and isolated and placed in intensive care units. “Doctors no longer have to do throat swabs to treat people with Tamiflu. If they have the symptoms and fall into the high-risk category, have underlying symptoms and co-morbid conditions, they can be put on the drug immediately. “We are also acquiring more Tamiflu to cater for another 10 per cent of the population. We will make sure there are sufficient anti-viral drugs to treat 20 per cent of the population. We are also replenishing the stock of seasonal flu vaccines.”
The ministry has also drawn up a contingency plan for the second wave of the pandemic. It is looking into more manpower, staff, ICU beds and drugs besides ensuring more hospitals have the laboratory facilities to test for H1N1. Liow said the ministry would put in place all the contingency plans as stipulated in the National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan and be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
alarming.. yup.. it is. 20% to be infected is a big number. all of us must be able to defend ourselves from being infected. not only that, we need to know when not to infect others.
first off we may start reading this article from UpToDate.com. here i pasted the summary. quite a lengthy read there. it’s quite useful if you would like to know more about this. it’s all on a single page so readers don’t have to open new window to read further..
Treatment of pandemic H1N1 influenza (“swine influenza”)
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS — In late March and early April 2009, an outbreak of H1N1 influenza A virus infection was detected in Mexico, with subsequent cases observed in many other countries including the United States. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert level to the highest level, phase 6, indicating widespread community transmission on at least two continents. (See “Introduction”).
- Case definitions of suspected, probable, and confirmed pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus infection are based on symptoms, signs, and epidemiologic information. (See “Case definitions”).
- The vast majority of strains of pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus circulating in 2009 appear sensitive in vitro to the neuraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir, but all strains tested have been resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. No clinical studies have confirmed the benefit of therapy, however. (See “Antiviral therapy”).
- Not all individuals with suspected pandemic H1N1 influenza A infection need to be seen by a health care provider or treated. Patients with severe illness and those at high risk for complications from influenza should contact their health care provider or seek medical care. (See “Medical care for suspected cases”).
- We recommend antiviral therapy (with zanamivir or oseltamivir) for all hospitalized patients with confirmed, probable, or suspected pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus infection and for patients at increased risk for complications (Grade 1B). During the current pandemic, patients with mild illness do not need to be tested or treated unless they have risk factors for complications. (See “Adults”).
- In locations where oseltamivir-resistant seasonal H1N1 influenza A virus is circulating, zanamivir is the preferred antiviral. Patients who are unable to take zanamivir in such a setting can be given the combination of an adamantane (rimantadine or amantadine) with oseltamivir. (See “Choice of antiviral”).
- Treatment should be initiated as soon as possible. In patients who are more than mildly ill, we would initiate therapy even past 48 hours of symptoms. (See “Antiviral therapy”).
- The duration of therapy is five days. (See “Antiviral therapy”).
- Recommendations for the treatment of pregnant women and infants are discussed above. (See “Pregnancy” and see “Children”).
next read this from H1N1 Treatment. this website supplies tons of informations on H1N1. from the mainpage, jump around to find informations that u might be interested in. i’m posting some here..
H1N1 Flu Virus
The H1N1 Flu Virus is composed of genetic elements from different flu viruses – avian influenza (bird flu), human influenza, and swine influenza virus. The virus is thought to have originated from Mexico. Although it was previously known as swine flu, it is not contracted from pigs or by eating pork.
This new strain of the human influenza virus is highly contagious and is spread rapidly by people worldwide. Approximately 1 in 4 people who come into contact with the H1N1 flu virus will contract it. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a pandemic influenza virus.
At this time, no vaccine is available although a vaccine is currently under development. In terms of treatment, antiviral medications are available to treat Influenza A(H1N1-2009), such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®). Indiscriminate use of these drugs, such as not following the prescription instructions, may limit their effectiveness as drug-resistant viruses may develop.
Similar to the seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu begins with high fever, fatigue and muscle aches, accompanied by a cough, sore throat and stuffy nose. Patients have also reported nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Early detection of the illness will most likely result in a full recovery upon proper treatment; therefore it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
What you can do to protect yourself and others against the flu?
- Practise a high level of personal hygiene and be responsible towards others:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth without washing your hands thoroughly.
- Turn away from anyone near you quickly if you are about to cough or sneeze, and cough or sneeze into your arm or sleeve.
- Avoid crowded places if you are unwell and wear a surgical mask to cover your nose and mouth.
- Stay home and refrain from working at the office when you are sick.
- Use a serving spoon when sharing food at meal times.
- See your family doctor if you are feeling unwell.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle to strengthen your immunity and protect yourself against infection.
- Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Be active. Do 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week.
- Have enough sleep, rest and relaxation.
- Do not smoke.
How Important and effective is a face mask or respirator against H1N1?
Information on the effectiveness of facemasks and respirators for the control of influenza in community settings is highly limited. So , it is tough to assess their potential efficiency in controlling swine influenza A ( H1N1 ) virus transmission in these settings. Face masks and respirators may offer extra protection, but should not be your first line of defense against the virus.
There’s a difference between a face mask and a respirator. A face mask does not seal tightly to the face. Face masks include masks labeled as surgical, dental, medical procedure, isolation, or laser masks. Respirators are N95- or higher-rated filtering face pieces that fit snugly to the face. Respirators filter out virus particles when correctly adjusted — which is not as simple as it sounds. But it’s hard to breathe through them for extended periods, and they cannot be worn by children or by people with facial hair.
Lacking the presence of clear scientific information, the interim suggestions below have been developed on the principle of public health judgment and the historic use of facemasks and respirators in other settings. In areas with confirmed human cases of swine influenza A virus infection, the chance for infection can be reduced through a mix of actions. No single action will supply complete protection, but an approach combining these steps can help decrease the chance of transmission.
These actions include frequent handwashing, covering coughs, and having unwell people stay at home, except to find hospital treatment, and minimize contact with others in the household. Extra measures that may limit transmission of a new influenza strain include voluntary home quarantine of members of homes with confirmed or possible swine influenza cases, reduction of needless social contacts, and avoidance when possible of crowded settings.
When it is totally critical to enter a crowded setting or to have close contact with people who could be unwell, the time expended in that setting should be as short as possible. If used properly, facemasks and respirators may help to reduce the chance of getting influenza, but they deserve to be used together with other preventive measures, like avoiding close contact and maintaining good hand hygiene. A respirator that fits snugly on your face can clear out little particles that may be breathed round the edges of a facemask, but compared to a facemask it is harder to breath through a respirator for long periods.
When crowded settings or close contact with others cannot be avoided, the use of facemasks or respirators in areas where transmission of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus has been confirmed should be considered as follows:
- Whenever possible, rather than relying on the use of facemasks or respirators, close contact with people who might be ill and being in crowded settings should be avoided.
- Facemasks should be considered for use by persons who enter crowded settings, both to protect their nose and mouth from other people’s coughs and to reduce the wearers’ likelihood of coughing on others; the time spent in crowded settings should remain as short as possible.
- Respirators should be considered for use by individuals for whom close contact with an infectious person is unavoidable. This can include selected individuals who must care for a sick person (e.g., family member with a respiratory infection) at home.
These interim recommendations will be revised as new information about the use of facemasks and respirators in the current setting becomes available.
it’s interesting how facemasks are becoming a business opportunity for some. they’re taking this opportunity to sell those masks at high price. i’m not against them or anything, it is just that people should be told that wearing facemasks won’t be sufficient to protect them from H1N1. it is best used for those sick ones as that prevents them from infecting others. if the person is healthy, wearing that won’t help much. best way is to avoid close contact as stated in this article.