Intended for healthcare professionals


Zanamivir, influenza, and meningococcal disease

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 05 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:378

Zanamivir may help to fight potential flu epidemic

  1. Stephen T Green, consultant physician in infectious diseases and tropical medicine (
  1. Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield S10 2JF
  2. Gipping Valley Practice, Barham, Suffolk IP6 0AS

    EDITOR—The zanamivir issue described by Yamey in his news article1 and the whole subject of treating influenza have ramifications apart from the potential expense to the British taxpayer (who can easily turn into a patient).

    I am keen on any development that might help to reduce the burden of disease in hospital wards. If I were asked to state which single condition will fill up my inpatient beds and send healthcare staff home ill most efficiently, I would always choose influenza. Although it is true that influenza is often a mild illness, its association with the development of potentially lethal sequelae is well recognised. It has been described as the best known model of bacterial-viral coinfection.2 Influenza is a powerful predisposing factor for invasive meningococcal disease3 one of the few bacterial conditions still regularly killing otherwise normal healthy young people in the United Kingdom. Hubert et al have stated that when an epidemic of influenza-like …

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