The director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the Atlanta-based agency will release the remaining amount of the antiviral Tamiflu in the Strategic National Stockpile—234,000 doses in all—and expects to receive more from manufacturers early next year.
CDC to release Tamiflu stockpile
Tamiflu is an antiviral used to treat the flu, which the CDC reports is now widespread in 48 states. CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a news conference that virtually all of those cases are the H1N1 strain, the deadly virus that the World Health Organization reports as of Oct. 25 has resulted in more than 440,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and more than 5,700 deaths around the world. In the U.S. as of Friday, there have been 114 laboratory-confirmed pediatric deaths—an increase of 19 from last week—with more than two-thirds of those deaths occurring in children who had underlying conditions.
Meanwhile, vaccine production continues to be steady but slower than expected, forcing providers and the public to wait for their allotments. According to the CDC, there were 26.6 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine available as of Oct. 30, a 65% increase in a week's time. Frieden also emphasized the need for people with underlying conditions—including asthma, heart disease, lung disease—to seek prompt treatment. Frieden said the CDC was surprised to learn that among people who have underlying conditions, only about half have sought care. And while there has been a decrease in the number of cases in the southern states, Frieden explained, there is no indication what the virus will do in the future.
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