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Children “should be given Tamiflu”


The World Health Organization has stepped into the Tamiflu debate by saying that adults and children severely ill with swine flu, or at high risk of complications, should receive it.

But it says that otherwise healthy people with mild flu-like symptoms need not be given antivirals.

British researchers have said that children should not routinely be treated with antivirals because they may do more harm than good.

They cite clinical data showing scant benefits and potentially harmful side effects, and have called for a rethink of current widespread use of antivirals among under-12s.

But the UN agency has now reiterated the advice first issued on May 21, saying: “WHO continues to recommend use of antivirals as treatment for people who are severely ill or are at risk of other health complications.”

It recommends prompt treatment with oseltamivir, the generic name for Swiss drug maker Roche’s Tamiflu, for “at risk” groups including pregnant women.

It adds: “Antivirals need not be administered for otherwise healthy individuals with mild flu-like symptoms.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

World Health Organization

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