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Travel Health and Swine Flu


The H1N1 virus continues to circle the globe and infect new areas thanks to the “person to person” spread.  Clearly, this influenza outbreak will have long-reaching impact on travelers.  A few things that may help travelers make informed decisions:

The CDC has advised the following persons to use antiviral medication such as Zanamivir (Relenza) or Oseltamivir (Tamiflu):

The following persons are instructed to consider using antiviral post-exposure treatment:

Use of N-95 respirator masks may also decrease flu transmission, although they require proper fitting to ensure adequate face to mask seal.  Simple surgical masks likely offer little protection.  A 2007 statement from the CDC discussed little evidence that using such masks decreased influenza transmission.

One important point is the reserve supply of these anti-viral drugs and availability.  These medications are prescription only and advice should be sought from a physician before use.  Second, the manufacturers of these medicines are releasing stockpiles to help cope with increasing demand and obviously, areas with known outbreaks and those with confirmed infections receive priority.

Google Maps has created a real-time mapping of the virus spread, according to WHO data

CDC Guidelines for use of antivirals for H1N1:

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