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WHO says act early on swine flu, Pacific doctors told

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  • WHO says act early on swine flu, Pacific doctors told

    Act early on swine flu, Pacific doctors told

    Geraldine Coutts
    Last Updated: Tue, 25 Aug 2009 17:00:00 +1000
    The World Health Organisation (WHO) says doctors in the Pacific need to treat people showing symptoms of swine flu as soon as possible.

    Fiji-based infectious disease epidemiologist Jacob Kool says the best way to combat the virus is to treat patients with Tamiflu.

    He says Tamiflu is most effective if patients are treated during the first 48 hours of having swine flu.

    "(The medication) helps to shorten the duration of illness . . . provided it is given very early. It should be really given in the first day of illness," he said.

    Dr Kool has told Pacific Beat high risk patients such as those with diabetes, lung disease or HIV and those who are pregnant should receive immediate treatment.

    He says WHO has emphasised the need to treat patients who show swine flu symptoms rather than wait for laboratory results.

    "For a while in the used to be, the doctors said well if this is not H1N1 flu then they probably don't need [Tamiflu], so they would wait for the laboratory to come back with a result" he said.

    "We really have tried to emphasis to all the doctors that you can't wait for your laboratory results."