Editorials

Preparing for the next flu pandemic

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39101.628715.80 (Published 08 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:268
  1. Wei Shen Lim, consultant respiratory physician (weishen.lim@nuh.nhs.uk)1,
  2. Anne Thomson, consultant in paediatric respiratory medicine2,
  3. Paul Little, professor of primary care research3
  1. 1Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham NG5 1PB
  2. 2John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford, Oxford OX3 9DU
  3. 3University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ

    New clinical guidelines focus on coordinating services and standardising care

    In the past three years, the incidence of infection with the H5N1 variant of avian flu has increased in humans in southeast Asia during periods corresponding to winter and spring in the northern hemisphere.1 More cases of H5N1 infection in humans increase the chances that the virus will adapt towards efficient transmission between humans and therefore of a flu pandemic.

    The United Kingdom is well advanced in its preparations for a flu pandemic.2 The British Infection Society, British Thoracic Society, Health Protection Agency, and Department of Health have recently developed and published provisional guidelines on the clinical management of pandemic flu.3 These guidelines cover the clinical management of children and adults with flu during a pandemic.

    In interpandemic years when influenza is circulating in the community, presentation with acute fever and new (or in chronic lung disease, worsening) cough is highly predictive of flu in adults.4 In a pandemic, key predictive features may change as a result of altered thresholds …

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