CDC calls for people to quit hoarding, wasting Tamiflu!

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Summer camps should cease handing out Tamiflu to healthy campers to stop camp flu outbreaks, said one leading influenza official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The official, Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center on Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said she “strongly recommended” giving the drug only to people already seriously ill, or to their family members who are pregnant, have asthma or have other conditions that could be life-threatening if they caught the flu.

Giving the drug to healthy people wastes the world’s limited supplies of Tamiflu and increases the chances of drug-resistant strains developing, Dr. Schuchat said, and the disease centers are working with camp associations and local health departments to discourage the practice…

The director of Camp Modin, one of the Maine sleep-away camps that offered prophylactic Tamiflu, disagreed with Dr. Schuchat’s recommendation…

“I understand the concerns of the C.D.C.,” Mr. Salzberg added, “but there is a uniqueness to the camp environment, similar to health care centers and nursing homes. We would have had to release campers and staff members, who would have had to travel all over the world to get home, and probably make the situation worse.”

Camp Modin took the advice of Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor at N.Y.U. Langone Medical Center who writes frequently about the fear of epidemics and whose son attended the camp. Dr. Siegel said he respectfully disagreed with the C.D.C., which he said was “relying on an old protocol” for Tamiflu use…

In her weekly swine flu update, Dr. Schuchat also said the disease centers would follow the lead of the World Health Organization and stop releasing counts of confirmed cases and deaths. It will instead track cities where many people are sick and will release case estimates. There have been more than one million cases in the United States thus far, but only 43,771 are laboratory-confirmed, and the 302 laboratory-confirmed deaths are probably lower than the real number.

Dr. Schuchat also said the centers were now “fully recommending” that children as young as 6 months old get a flu shot every year. In the past, the agency had only “encouraged” shots for children.

Of course, the nutball wing of Libertarians, fundamentalist Christians and just plain ignorant and irascible will continue their complaints against [1] “Forced Vaccination” – which doesn’t exist for flu in the U.S.; [2] the “danger” of flu vaccination – which hasn’t been realistic since production regs were changed in 1975 – thirty-four fracking years ago.

In my personal experience, these are the folks most likely to hoard Tamiflu, as well. Except for those who think they’re protected by praying a lot.

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