Friday, December 04, 2009

H1N1 could boost antibiotic prescriptions, creating more drug resistance

From the Vancouver Sun:
Infectious disease experts worry the H1N1 virus will drive a surge in antibiotic prescribing, potentially leading to more drug-resistant organisms.

As Canada enters the normal peak season for flu, doctors are facing a perennial problem: how to distinguish flu from rare and grave bacterial infections such as meningitis and serious Group A streptococcal infections.

Early signs of meningitis include some of the same symptoms recommended in screening questions for H1N1, including fever, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea, two doctors writing in the British Medical Journal recently warned.

Bacterial infections need to be treated with antibiotics. Should doctors face what they term "diagnostic uncertainty," doctors will prescribe the antibiotics as well as an anti-viral medicine, such as Tamiflu, just in case.

While flu activity is falling, officials warned Tuesday that H1N1 is far from gone, and the number of visits to doctors nationwide for flu-like symptoms have been at levels not seen in 12 years. ...more

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