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Immunocompromised Patients Need Aggressive Flu Treatment

-- Rick Ansorge

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TUESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with hematologic malignancies who develop seasonal or H1N1 influenza, aggressive treatment may be required, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in Blood.

Corey Casper, M.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues review the clinical manifestations of seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza; discuss current diagnosis, antiviral treatment, and prophylaxis options; and summarize infection control and vaccination strategies for patients, family members, and caregivers.

The researchers found that H1N1 influenza can cause serious disease in immunosuppressed patients, including respiratory failure, treatment failures due to drug resistance, and death. They recommend rapid diagnosis and initiation of antiviral drugs, empiric treatment while awaiting test results in critically ill patients, and a higher dose of oseltamivir.

"Initial observations suggest a wide spectrum of disease severity and that patients with hematologic malignancies are not a homogeneous group," the authors conclude. "Therefore, pathogenesis studies are needed to define the role of the underlying immunosuppression, viral load, cytokine responses, and to evaluate RNA detection in blood and other biomarkers that may correlate with disease severity."

Several authors of the study reported financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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