Antiviral agents are available that are safe and effective for the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza virus infections in children. The neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir [Tamiflu] and zanamivir [Relenza]) are preferred agents because of current widespread resistance to the adamantanes (amantadine [Symmetrel] and rimantadine [Flumadine]). Therapy should be provided to children with influenza infection who are at high risk of severe infection and to children with moderate-to-severe influenza infection who may benefit from a decrease in the duration of symptoms. Prophylaxis should be provided (1) to high-risk children who have not yet received immunization and during the 2 weeks after immunization, (2) to unimmunized family members and health care professionals with close contact with high-risk unimmunized children or infants who are younger than 6 months, and (3) for control of influenza outbreaks in unimmunized staff and children in an institutional setting. Testing of current H5N1 avian influenza virus isolates, the potential agents of pandemic influenza, suggests susceptibility to oseltamivir and zanamivir. Because no prospective data exist on the efficacy of these agents in humans for H5N1 strains, the dosage and duration of therapy in adults and children may differ from those documented to be effective for epidemic influenza strains.
- Influenza antiviral
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health