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H1N1(Swine Flu): Young Kids Shed Virus Longer? And Timing for Antiviral Therapy

by: ReginaPhelps

Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 14:22:05 PM EDT


I belong to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (what a conversation starter that is at a cocktail party?!?!) and find much of their research most interesting.  ;-)  The Society has just released a couple of intriguing research papers at their national meeting in Philadelphia.  I thought they were worth exploring here online.

ReginaPhelps :: H1N1(Swine Flu): Young Kids Shed Virus Longer? And Timing for Antiviral Therapy
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Kids Shed H1N1 Virus 6 Days After Fever
Oct. 29, 2009 (Philadelphia) -- Some elementary school kids with the swine flu are still shedding H1N1 virus six days after their fever strikes, a new study suggests.

Researchers stopped short of saying these youngsters could still transmit the virus to their friends and family.

But the findings raise a red flag, reinforcing the importance of getting school-aged kids vaccinated, doctors say.[snip]


Does six days "after fever strikes" means after the fever first appears, or after the fever is gone (like a fire is "struck" when firemen say it's out)?  Children can run a fever for a few days, can't they?  Does the number of days with fever or having higher temperatures correlate with more time of shedding?  The article says they think it's okay to send a child back to school after a day without fever.  That's what they've been saying for a while now.   This "news" from the conference is just confusing to me, unless it's meant to generate more research.

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

Is Shedding the Right Word Here?
In the study the virus was found on swabs taken from the children's notses and throats, so I am not sure if shedding is the right word.  In addition the article does not mention the testing method.  If the method was culture than at least that means there was viable virus on the mucus menmbranes of the chlidren.  If the test were PCR than it only means that there were detectible pieces of influenza RNA on these mucous membranes. PCR is very sensitive and can detect even one dead influenza virus. The real question is transmission.  How long after infection can children transmit disease?

[ Parent ]
I agree
the real test is in transmission, and that can only come from epidemiological data, such as household transmission studies.  From what I know, current evidence suggests the bulk of transmission (for seasonal flu) happens within the first 1-2 days of onset of the index case.  More here http://www.newfluwiki2.com/sho...

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

[ Parent ]

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