The New Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus: What Clinicians Should Know

Alicia M. Fry, MD, MPH


May 09, 2013

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In This Article

Treatment Recommendations (Antiviral Medications)

These interim antiviral recommendations are based on current information and the following considerations:

Current lack of a vaccine for H7N9 virus.

Severe H7N9 disease with substantial mortality to date.

No sustained human-to-human H7N9 virus transmission, but potential for increased transmission in the future.

Because of the potential severity of illness associated with H7N9 virus infection, it is recommended that all confirmed cases, probable cases, and H7N9 cases under investigation (see Interim Guidance on Case Definitions to be Used for Novel Influenza A (H7N9) Case Investigations in the United States) receive antiviral treatment with a neuraminidase inhibitor as early as possible. Treatment should be initiated even if it is more than 48 hours after onset of illness.

Laboratory testing and initiation of antiviral treatment should occur simultaneously; treatment should not be delayed for laboratory confirmation of influenza or H7N9 infection.

Please see Guidance on the Use of Antiviral Agents for additional guidance on the use of influenza antiviral agents, including dosage recommendations for treatment by age group. Oseltamivir is recommended for treatment of persons of any age; zanamivir is recommended for children aged 7 years and older. Clinicians may refer to the manufacturer's package inserts for additional information regarding dosing, contraindications, and potential adverse events.