Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Caring for patients

It's September.  Kids are back in school.  A federal panel predicted a worst-case scenario of 90,000 Americans dead from complications of swine flu ten days ago.

CDC's Clinician Guidance:  Identifying and Caring for Patients is still dated May 4 and fails to provide any guidance based on study of the pandemic's characteristics.

It still says, "Complications:  There is insufficient information to date about clinical complications of this novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection."

It still says, "The duration of shedding with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus is unknown."

Ironically, HHS has teamed up with Sesame Street to teach children to wash their hands and cough into their sleeves.  Excellent strategies to prevent spread.

But part of my job involves taking care of very sick people with swine flu, in the hospital, and CDC/HHS shows no signs of giving me guidance to do that job.  When will clinicians and the public be informed of the basics about this pandemic?

UPDATE:  In an apparent attempt to close the H1N1 knowledge gap, the British medical journal The Lancet has created a web collection of updating information and papers on the H1N1 flu.

UPDATE #2:  The CDC'S Sept. 4 MMWR (MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORT) does have information on deaths in children related to H1N1.  The Sept. 4. NY Times also provides useful information on the report.

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