Santa Clara Co. to distribute Tamiflu

May 1, 2009 5:52:34 PM PDT
Late Friday afternoon, the Santa Clara County announced its protocol for dispensing the county's share of the Tamiflu supply in response to the H1N1 outbreak.

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"We have probable cases, healthcare workers who have taken care of those, people at high risk for exposure and others that the physicians feel would benefit from the use of Tamiflu," Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said.

One prescription tracking service says demand for anitvirals increased almost 900 percent nationwide on Monday.

The pharmacy manager at Leiter Rx in San Jose says in the private sector, wholesalers are doling out Tamiflu and Relenza based on strict guidelines.

"That just means the pharmacies are only allowed to order so much and they'll send so much and they'll only send one a day per pharmacy as long as it is in stock," Paul Yamamoto said.

Tamiflu does require a prescription and so far the flu virus is only producing mild symptoms. Seventy-five percent of the national supply is still available if the virus gets worse or if the outbreak is declared a pandemic.

"Twenty-five percent of the national stockpile was released to those states that have probable cases, so there is more if the situation were to progress," Santa Clara County Office of Public Health spokesperson Joy Alexiou said.

Also Friday, the test on the 6-year-old student at Rucker Elementary in the South County came back negative. That school will reopen on Monday. Four other schools remain closed in Santa Clara County and students are doing what work they can from home.

"We gave them all extra reading books to bring home and they have extra writing projects that they are going to do, that's pretty much the most we can do," Delphi Academy teacher Matina Tryforos said.

The CDC and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell recommended that schools with probable or confirmed H1N1 cases remain closed for 14 days instead of one week, but Fenstersheib says he is comfortable with reopening the schools next week.

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