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Topics Alert Archive

Alert Number 54

CDC Advisory on Anti-virals in Response to Flu Vaccine Shortage

Date: October 26, 2004

The flu season is upon us, and unless you live in a cave with no contact with the outside world, you are aware of two things: (1) there is a tremendous shortage of flu vaccines in the U.S. this year and (2) as an immune compromised CLL patient you fall into the high risk category. If you are unable to get the flu vaccine, there are other action items that may give you a level of protection. For starters, pay particular attention to personal hygiene. Avoid crowded places, avoid physical contact with people who are obviously suffering from the flu, wash your hands frequently, use "hand sanitizers" you can find in every drug store, and break that habit of touching your face, rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth. Besides these commonsense items, you may also wish to discuss with your doctor the advisability of taking anti-viral medications.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released new interim guidelines to advise physicians on the use of antiviral medications during the current influenza season, given the acute vaccine shortage. These guidelines will make it easier for you to discuss the issues with your physician. The online link is given below, and you can print out a hard copy of it for your doctor.

Normally we ask that you not post these Topics Alerts on other sites. However, in view of the importance of the CDC guidelines, I would appreciate it if some of you who participate in the various internet CLL chat rooms would post the full text of this Alert at those sites. I would like to see the information distributed to the larger CLL patient community, not just those that have registered to receive our Topics Alerts service.

Be well,


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