Colds and flu

27 August 2009

Tamiflu resistance warning

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi urged doctors to give pregnant women with flu symptoms Tamiflu, but warned that in discriminatory use would create a resistant strain of swine flu.

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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has urged doctors to give pregnant women with serious flu symptoms the anti-viral drug Tamiflu but warned that in discriminatory use would create a resistant strain of swine flu.

He said in the National Assembly that health workers should not even test expecting mothers before administering the drug "because it pains to see women dying with this influenza".

But he said with other patients they should think very carefully before administering the anti-viral for fear of allowing the H1N1 virus to mutate into a more resistant strain.

"A virus will not be attacked without defending itself and it will do so quite cruelly. We will be destroying ourselves."

Nine of the 18 confirmed swine flu deaths in South Africa have been pregnant women. According to the minister, state hospitals and clinics have some 100 000 doses of Tamiflu in reserve. – (Sapa, August 2009)

Read more:
SA swine flu deaths double

 

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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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