Swedish health agencies revise swine flu strategy
Agencies preparing contingency plans for mass vaccination
Stockholm – Anticipating hundreds of thousands of cases of the (A)H1N1 influenza virus this autumn, Swedish health agencies Wednesday said they would now focus on reducing the effects of the pandemic, known as swine flu.
The health care system was to focus testing, treatment and preventive measures on certain risk groups, including people suffering from chronic heart or lung disease, pregnant women, and people infected with the HIV virus or suffering from immune deficiencies.
Henceforth, only cases treated in hospital or confirmed results from laboratory tests would need to be reported, the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control said.
Doctors were also to be advised to be more restrictive when prescribing antiviral medications like Tamiflu. Health workers were also a targeted group.
Sweden has so far reported 187 confirmed cases.
People with flu symptoms were also to be advised to avoid contacting the health system unless they belonged to a risk group, the agencies said.
Researchers commissioned by the agencies recently projected that some 400,000 of Sweden’s 9 million inhabitants could be infected with the virus this autumn. A worst-case scenario suggested that 5 million people could be infected.
The agencies were preparing contingency plans for mass vaccination.
‘Such a large vaccination programme has never been conducted in Sweden before and represents a major challenge,’ said Anders Tegnell of the National Board of Health and Welfare’s infectious disease unit.