July 2009 MedBytes: Influenza

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Tex Med. 2005;105(7):56.  

Public health experts urge physicians to prepare for the possibility of a reemergence of swine flu this fall, in addition to handling vaccination of patients to prevent seasonal flu. The Web sites here will point you toward tools you can use to improve the vaccination rate, prepare for disease outbreak, and stay up to date on the latest infectious disease information.

Texas Medical Association
When it comes to immunization, TMA has made vaccines an integral part of its public health mission. The Be Wise - Immunize SM initiative is one of the organization's most ambitious programs and is responsible for the administration of more than 127,000 shots since 2004. For more information on getting involved in the program and to access TMA's child and adolescent immunization toolkits for physicians, click  here . The  TMA Web site  also is home to a variety of  influenza resources  physicians can use to stay informed. The Articles and Reports section links you to information about prevention and control of influenza, pandemic flu updates, swine flu alerts and resources, flu vaccine details, and pandemic flu containment. TMA also set up an online  Swine Flu Resource Center  with the latest news, relevant articles, information for physicians, lab testing protocol, reports from the governor, and resources.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The  Seasonal Flu Web site  of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a warehouse of resources and information for physicians who vaccinate. You can keep track of flu activity around the nation with the CDC's  weekly surveillance reports . Stay up to date with the  2008-09 recommendations  of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the What's New & Updated bulletin.  Flu prevention educational materials  are also available for you to share with your patients. The CDC's  Vaccines & Immunizations  site   offers links to current immunization events and initiatives nationwide. Information is broken down for adults, children, adolescents, college students, pregnant women, health care workers, and other specific groups. And to help physicians stay current with swine flu information, CDC has created a  Web site with tailored resources for clinicians. Guidance includes identifying and caring for patients, antiviral recommendations, and information for treating specific groups of people.

National Influenza Vaccine Summit
The National Influenza Vaccine Summit, cosponsored by the American Medical Association and CDC, has been in existence since 2000 and convenes annually. The summit includes more than 400 participants representing more than 100 stakeholder organizations, which include health care and public health professionals, vaccine manufacturers and distributors, consumers, federal agencies, and others interested in thwarting vaccine-preventable diseases. With a message to "Get Vaccinated!" the summit's  Web site  links physicians to information about  influenza diseasevaccine production, ordering, and distributionvaccine recommendations  and  procedures ; and  vaccine programs in schools . The summit newsletters contain helpful, up-to-date information on flu-related developments and can be accessed by clicking on  National Influenza Vaccine Summit .

Texas Department of State Health Services
For state-specific swine flu resources and details, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)  Web site has physicians covered. DSHS continually updates the site's content, which encompasses  school and child care center closure recommendationsguidelines for treating and preventing swine flu infection in young childrenfrequently asked questions for cliniciansantiviral drug information , and  laboratory testing protocol . Information on other types of flu can be found on the  DSHS Web site , as well. Resources include  vaccinationsurveillanceantiviral guidancecurrent flu reportspandemic preparedness , and links to  other sources of information .

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mailCrystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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