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Influenza

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which groups of workers would be eligible for antiviral prophylaxis in (a) an outbreak of avian influenza and (b) an influenza pandemic; and if she will make a statement. (123126)

In the event of an outbreak of avian influenza any workers who have been or could be exposed to infection through their work activity will be offered the antiviral oseltamivir subject to an individual risk assessment by the Health Protection Agency. Such workers are likely to include poultry workers on the infected farm, vets, catchers and cullers of poultry, and contractors involved in carcase disposal and site decontamination.

Our current United Kingdom strategy is to use antiviral drugs predominantly for treatment of people with pandemic influenza. We are currently considering the practicalities of giving short courses of anti-virals (as prophylaxis) to members of the household of a person with pandemic influenza. However, this would require a larger stockpile than currently planned.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many courses of oseltamivir have been used in the prophylaxis of poultry workers and others potentially exposed to avian influenza in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. (123127)

The number of courses of anti-virals used in the prophylaxis of poultry workers and others potentially exposed to avian influenza is as follows:

Number

2005

Essex quarantine incident

10

2006

Norfolk H7N3 incident

129

2007

Suffolk avian influenza incident

554