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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Carl Kanefsky, Communications Director
(302) 255-9047, Pager

Date: March 23, 2011


Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) is following-up on three additional antiviral-resistant influenza cases. Lab results provided March 21 found that a 1 month-old girl and a 33 year-old woman from Kent County were infected with influenza strains found to be resistant to oseltamivir, an antiviral medication used to treat influenza. A 3 year-old Sussex County boy was also identified as having had antiviral resistant influenza. This brings Delaware's number of influenza cases resistant to oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) treatment to four for the 2010-2011 flu season.

"DPH routinely sends randomly-selected flu specimens for advanced testing to determine antiviral resistance," explained Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. Of 82 Delaware samples tested for resistance from late November to mid March, only these four cases were found resistant.

All four of Delaware's resistant flu cases tested positive for influenza A / H1N1. Oseltamivir is the preferred treatment for confirmed cases of influenza. Resistance to oseltamivir is very rare, occurring in just 0.5 percent of cases studied during the 2009-2010 flu season. There is no reason to change treatment approaches at this time.

There are four influenza antiviral medications approved for use in the United States: oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu ); zanamivir (brand name Relenza ); amantadine (Symmetrel, generic); and rimantadine (Flumadine, generic).

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As always, DPH recommends the following precautions for both the public and clinicians:

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.