Flu Virus Resistant to Two Drugs

January 16, 2006 – Posted at 5:39 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The flu has now joined diseases like tuberculosis and HIV in becoming resistant to two drugs currently being used for treatment.

Influenza is a viral infection that occurs in epidemic proportions every three to four years. But a dominate flu strand circulating through out the U.S. is proving resistant to two drugs used to treat the flu. Antiviral drugs Amantadine and Rimantadine will no longer help you if you have the flu.

"The virus seems to be becoming more resistant to some of our treatments and that's not good news," said Dr. Bryan Harvey of Harvey Pediatrics.

The Region 8 flu season runs from late January to March, with the youngest and elderly most at risk. The generic drugs treated Type A Influenza and had been used for years.

"The two medicines that had been found to be less effective were largely used for prophylaxis, so if you had one person get sick in the family, you would start everyone else on medicine to kind of limit the spread," said Dr. Harvey, "These were the medicines you tended to use. they were cheap and very available. Now, we are more stuck with one of the more expensive agents. But it's a more effective medicine and we hate to see any medicine lose its effectiveness."

But by practicing good health, the transfer the disease can be limited.

"Just be careful if you are sick. Not going to infect your coworkers or sending your sick child to school or day school. Careful washing of hands, just doing all the things we know about to not spread the germs," said Dr. Harvey.

Doctors say Tamiflu remains the primary drug used to fight the flu, and it is still considered effective. It can also be administered to those as young as one.

Health care providers say it's not too late to get vaccinated for the flu. Children as young as six months old can get the flu shot and flu mist is available to those between the ages of five and 59-years-old.