Dr. warns against influenza outbreak

2015-06-11 06:01

PARENTS and day care centres must keep a close eye on children as there is an influenza outbreak in Jeffreys Bay.

This is according to paediatrician Dr. Marian de Jager at Policlinic in Jeffreys Bay.

“The virus has been cultured from some children in the Jeffreys Bay area,” says De Jager.

“Influenza viruses are highly contagious. It manifests as an acute febrile illness with variable degrees of severity, ranging from mild fatigue to respiratory failure and death. As many as one in three children with flu are at risk of serious complications.”

Complications include pneumonia, respiratory failure and seizures.

According to De Jager, antibiotics are not effective against Influenza. “Children with influenza should be put on antivirals (Tamiflu) to prevent serious complications.”

The signs and symptoms of influenza are:

. High fever

. Chills

. Myalgia (muscle ache)

. Headache

. Fatigue

. Sore throat/ pharyngitis

. Nasal congestion

. Rhinitis

. Non-productive cough

. Cervical lymphadenopathy

. Conjunctivitis (eye infection)

World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the management of avian influenza are as follows.

. Patients with confirmed or suspected H5N1 infection should be treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) as soon as possible, even before results of throat culture become available.

“As with other diseases, prevention of influenza (by vaccination) is the most effective strategy. Antiviral agents are also available that can prevent some cases of influenza when given soon after the development of influenza, they can reduce the duration and severity of illness,” says De Jager

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