Take Appropriate Action Now to Prepare for Avian and Pandemic Flu
Precautions – Summary of Key Points from the CDC Web Site
To reduce the risk of infection, Americans living in areas where outbreaks of H5N1 among poultry or human H5N1 cases have been reported should observe the following measures to help avoid illness. These recommendations may be revised as more information becomes available.
Avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. One of the most useful preventive practices is careful and frequent handwashing. Clean hands often with soap and water or waterless alcohol-based hand-rubs to help prevent disease transmission. All foods from poultry, including eggs, should be thoroughly cooked.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Recommendations – Outbreak Notice
The CDC website has an Outbreak Notice section which provides specific measures for reducing risk of infection. Click here to visit the CDC site: Interim Guidance about Avian Influenza A (H5N1) for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad.
Vaccines (Not yet available) and Antiviral Medications (May not be effective)
A specific vaccine for humans that is effective against avian influenza has not yet been developed. An inactivated vaccine to protect humans against influenza A (H5N1) is undergoing human clinical trials in the United States, but no human H5N1 vaccine is currently available. The H5N1 viruses currently infecting birds and some humans in Asia are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, two antiviral medications commonly used for influenza. The H5N1 viruses are susceptible in a laboratory setting to the antiviral medications, oseltamavir and zanamavir, although the effectiveness of these drugs when used for treatment of H5N1 virus infection is unknown.
Tamiflu To Be Provided to U.S. Government Employees and Families
Based upon limited data, the CDC has suggested that the anti-viral medication Oseltamavir (brand name Tamiflu) may be effective in preventing or treating avian influenza. Using this input, the Department of State has decided to pre-position the drug Tamiflu at its Embassies and Consulates in the Southeast Asian Region for eligible US Government employees and their families serving abroad. For more information about this policy, please click on this link: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1181.html.
Note: Tamiflu may not be readily available overseas and the State Department encourages American citizens traveling or living abroad that are interested in obtaining this medication to consult with their physician.
For More Information on Tamiflu, please click on these links:
U.S. Food & Drug Administration Consumer Information – Tamiflu
Roche USA – Our Products. Roche is the manufacturer of Tamiflu.
Discuss Your Plan with Your Health Care Provider
There are three AmCham members that provide health care. You should consult in advance with them about pandemic preparedness for yourself, your family members, and your company.
International SOS Pandemic Preparedness Program: Avian Flu Outbreak
Many countries are developing extensive and sophisticated pandemic preparedness plans including the stockpiling of large quantities of antiviral drugs. However there has been little or no advice specifically for organizations or companies, especially those operating in developing countries. International SOS has extensively researched the implications of an influenza pandemic and will provide comprehensive information and pandemic preparedness programs on its website and by consultancy.
The Columbia Asia Saigon International Clinic is a multi-specialty clinic located in downtown Saigon (district 1). The facility was opened in year 2000. It provides emergency and primary medical care to local and foreign nationals in Vietnam. The medical staff is comprised of local and foreign doctors. Columbia Asia Saigon International Clinic is affiliated with Columbia Asia Gia Dinh International Hospital, located nearby, and utilizes the services of this facility when necessary.
Healthcare service; In-patient and Out-patient care; 24 hour emergency ambulance service; complete laboratory and imaging diagnostics; 30 medical and surgical specialties; annual membership, health check-up programs, special arrangements for corporate accounts.
Visit These Web Sites for the Latest Information
Background Reading: Understand the Global Heath and Business Impact
Preparing for the Next Pandemic, New England Journal of Medicine, 05 May 05.
Preparing for the Next Pandemic, Foreign Affairs, July/Aug 2005.
Companies in Asia Guard Against Avian Flu, Wall Street Journal, 23 Sep 05.
Avian Flu: Preventing a Pandemic, Wall Street Journal web page with regular updates of news articles about Avian and Pandemic Flu.
Spanish Flu: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 killed between 20 and 40 million people.
Influenza 1918: ” … the worst epidemic the United States has ever known.”