Canada on Thursday announced it will allow the use of Tamiflu for babies under one year old if they are infected with the A/H1N1 flu.
The drug may be prescribed for suspected cases with a positive rapid test result, for children with a fever without another clear cause and a history of contact with an infected person, or for children with fever who are having trouble breathing, according to an interim guidance on treating infants with influenza-like illness during the H1N1 pandemic.
Boxes of Tamiflu are seen on a table in San Salvador July 17, 2009. The Pan-American Health Organization (OPS) has given El Salvador's Health Ministry 6,157 boxes of Tamiflu and 380 biohazard suits for the treatment of patients with the H1N1 flu. [Xinhua/Reuters]
Another antiviral drug, Relenza (zanamivir), is currently indicated for children seven years or older, the Public Health Agency of Canada said.
The decision to treat sick infants with Tamiflu seems "fairly simple," given the real risk of deaths, severe disease and hospitalization from the H1N1 virus, compared with the theoretical risk posed by a drug with a good safety profile in adults and young children, David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief medical officer of health, told a teleconference with reporters.
(Xinhua News Agency July 24, 2009)