Desktop Flu Tracker Helps Americans Prepare for Seasonal Flu Spread
-- Innovative Desktop Application Places Current Flu Data at Users’ Fingertips --
01/12/06, With seasonal flu already packing a punch throughout the United States, Roche announced the launch of its upgraded version of the Desktop Flu Tracker, a tool that allows users to conveniently and accurately track the appearance and spread of flu in any community in the continental United States.
An important tool in influenza tracking, the Desktop Flu Tracker provides physicians and patients with up-to-date information about local and national flu levels in real-time and alerts the user when there is an increased risk in the area. The innovative tool can be downloaded at http://www.tamiflu.com/flutracker.
“Americans need to be prepared for seasonal influenza, which causes an average of 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year. This includes awareness of proper preventive measures, warning signs and treatment options for influenza,” said Dominick Iacuzio, PhD, Medical Director, Roche, which markets Tamiflu, a prescription antiviral for influenza. “Flu Tracker enables both consumers and healthcare professionals to identify flu outbreaks in their cities and towns, take proper precautionary measures, and seek medical treatment if the need arises.”
The user-friendly programming feature on the Desktop Flu Tracker allows people to monitor for flu outbreaks in up to three geographic areas. Users can monitor flu activity where they live, as well as track the virus in areas where family and friends are located. The software includes helpful information about prevention and treatment, and helps users recognize the difference between cold and flu - a common confusion.
“Being able to monitor virus activity helps patients determine when they may be at highest risk of contracting flu,” said Dr. Iacuzio. “Flu tracker arms patients with expert information regarding symptom recognition, allowing the patient to talk with his or her doctor about proper treatment, such as taking an antiviral medication within the first 48 hours of symptom onset"
The Desktop Flu Tracker is updated twice weekly with information from FluSTAR™ (System for Tracking And Reporting Flu), a comprehensive surveillance system that provides reliable reporting of flu activity nationwide. FluSTAR data is gathered from four different surveillance methods, including rapid assay data, laboratory confirmation and clinical diagnosis data, which is compiled and analyzed throughout the flu season. Data for each geographical area is reported on a scale that indicates whether current flu and flu-like illness is low, moderate or high.
The Desktop Flu Tracker respects privacy by refraining from sending personal information from the user’s desktop to outside computers. Additionally, the software program is not bundled with any extra unwanted programs.
Tamiflu, co-developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc., based in Foster City, CA, is a systemic treatment for the most common strains of influenza (types A and B). The leading prescription oral antiviral drug, Tamiflu is indicated for treatment of type A and B influenza in patients one year and older. Tamiflu is an effective treatment, and can reduce the duration and severity of the flu when taken within two days of symptom onset. Tamiflu, a neuraminidase inhibitor, works by attacking the influenza virus and its ability to replicate, rather than simply addressing influenza symptoms.
Tamiflu is also approved for the prevention of influenza in adults and children one year and older. Clinical trials have shown Tamiflu is effective in preventing influenza illness when taken once daily for at least ten days. For the prevention of influenza in those 13 years or older, Tamiflu is administered following close contact with an infected individual who demonstrates characteristic symptoms of influenza, and based on knowledge that influenza is circulating in the area for 10 days, or up to six weeks for seasonal prophylaxis. For the prevention of influenza in children age one to 12, Tamiflu is administered for 10 days following close contact with an infected individual.
Tamiflu is generally well tolerated. In treatment studies in adults, the most frequently reported adverse events were mild-to-moderate transient nausea and vomiting. Other events reported more frequently than with placebo were bronchitis, insomnia and vertigo. In prophylaxis studies in patients aged 13 and older, adverse events were qualitatively similar to those seen in the treatment studies despite a longer duration of dosing. Events reported more frequently in subjects receiving Tamiflu compared to subjects receiving placebo in prophylaxis studies included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, insomnia, headache, vertigo and fatigue.
In pediatric treatment studies, the most frequently reported adverse event was vomiting. Other events reported more frequently by pediatric patients treated with Tamiflu included abdominal pain, epistaxis, ear disorder and conjunctivitis. These events generally occurred once and resolved despite continued dosing. Adverse events in pediatric prophylaxis studies were consistent with those observed in pediatric treatment studies.
Rare cases of anaphylaxis and serious skin reactions including toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnsons syndrome, and erythema multiforme have been reported in post-marketing experience with Tamiflu. Tamiflu should be stopped and appropriate treatment instituted if an allergic-like reaction occurs or is suspected.
Efficacy of Tamiflu in the treatment of subjects with chronic cardiac disease and/or respiratory disease has not been established.
Tamiflu was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of uncomplicated acute illness due to influenza infection in adults in October 1999.
The FDA granted marketing approval for the prevention of naturally occurring influenza A and B in adults and adolescents 13 years and older in November 2000. The FDA granted marketing approval of the oral suspension for use in the treatment of influenza A and B in children one year and older in December 2000. In December 2005, the FDA extended the prophylaxis indication for Tamiflu to children age one to 12 years. Tamiflu oral suspension is used for pediatric patients one year and older or adult patients who cannot swallow a capsule. Tamiflu is the first and only liquid suspension to treat influenza A and B.
Vaccination is considered the first line of defense against influenza.
Tamiflu is available for the treatment of influenza in more than 40 countries worldwide. For more information visit www.Tamiflu.com
Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche), based in Nutley, N.J., is the U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters of the Roche Group, one of the world’s leading research-oriented healthcare groups with core businesses in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. For more than 100 years, the Roche Group has been committed to developing innovative products and services that address prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, thus enhancing people’s health and quality of life. An employer of choice, in 2005, Roche was named one of Fortune magazine’s Best Companies to Work For in America, ranked as the No. 3 Best Company to Work For in NJ (NJ Biz magazine), the No. 1 Company to Sell For (Selling Power) and one of AARP’s Top Companies for Older Workers. For additional information about the U.S. pharmaceuticals business, visit our websites: http://www.rocheusa.com or www.roche.us.
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