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Antivirals triggered by flu rise

The number of cases of flu in England and Wales has doubled in the last week, prompting the Chief Medical Officer to issue an urgent warning to begin use of antiviral prophylaxis.

The CMO circulated a communication to all GPs instructing them that prescribing oseltamivir for the prophylaxis of flu is now 'recommended'.

The HPA reported that the number of cases of flu in England and Wales had risen from 16.8 per 100,000 in the fourth week of the year to 30.2 per 100,000 in week five.

The increase takes the rate above the NICE threshold for use of antivirals for prevention.

The guidelines state that when influenza A or B is 'circulating in the community', oseltamivir should be prescribed for the prevention of flu to children aged one year and above, and adults in at-risk groups, who have not been vaccinated and have been in contact with someone with flu-like symptoms.

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