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Este pagina en espanol State Public Health Officials Work with Duke Medical Center to Assess Extent of Antiviral-Resistant H1N1 Influenza strain

Release Date: November 20, 2009
Contact: Renee McCoy, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Division of Public Health (DPH) is working with the CDC and Duke University Medical Center to investigate a cluster of four patients infected with oseltamivir-resistant 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. Antiviral resistance was confirmed by the laboratory at CDC Monday night.  The four patients were diagnosed with flu during October and November. All were hospitalized on the same unit at Duke University Medical Center Three of those patients have died, although it is not clear whether their deaths were related to flu infections.  Duke physicians discovered the resistant strain after some of the patients continued to test positive for flu despite antiviral treatment.

“The fact that this was discovered at all can be attributed in large part to the astute clinicians at Duke University Medical Center,” State Epidemiologist Megan Davies said.  “They recognized the possibility of antiviral resistance and immediately took steps to determine who was exposed, and to protect their employees, patients and patients’ families.”

At this time, there is no indication of any antiviral-resistant cases outside of the affected unit. Additional testing is underway. More than 99 percent of 2009 H1N1 influenza viruses tested since April are susceptible to oseltamivir. Oseltamivir is still considered effective for treatment of 2009 H1N1 influenza. No resistance has been found to zanamivir, the other drug approved for treatment of 2009 H1N1.

“The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated against influenza”, Dr. Davies said. The current vaccines are still effective against H1N1 antiviral resistant flu.”

 Citizens are encouraged to protect themselves by taking the following steps:

  • Get the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine when available.
  • Stay home if you are sick to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

For more information about influenza in North Carolina, go to 



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