RCOG h1 n1

Dear Member

Please be aware that the WHO has not altered the global pandemic status from phase 6. The CMO for England has advised that the H1N1v virus is likely to be the prevailing virus in the next seasonal influenza period. The current lull in reported cases may end in the autumn, followed by a rise in the number of cases, coinciding with the next seasonal influenza period.

The DH and the RCOG are still advising pregnant women to be vaccinated against H1N1v flu. The single dose Pandemic H1N1 vaccine remains the recommended vaccine unless there are clinical reasons to offer the non-adjuvanted vaccine. Vaccines can be obtained from your GPs. The Pandemic H1N1 virus will be included in the trivalent vaccine for the influenza season and further advice on the vaccination campaign will be issued from the DH in the near future.

The latest report from the WHO (7 May) points to West Africa, the Carribbean and South East Asia as areas of active transmission of H1N1v flu. All UK citizens travelling to countries in these regions are advised to have the vaccine. For a list of countries where transmission is currently occurring, please click here. UK citizens travelling to countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over the next months, during the winter season in the southern hemisphere, are also advised to have the vaccine.

New evidence confirms that pregnant women, especially those with co-morbidities such as diabetes, obesity and asthma, are a high-risk group1 with some pregnant women developing complications which require hospital admission for intensive care2. In the UK, between the outbreak in June 2009 to February 2010, 15 maternal deaths were reported to the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE).

Research from the US has shown that the vaccine is safe for use in pregnancy3. Likewise, new evidence also shows that prompt treatment of suspected cases of H1N1v flu in pregnancy with antivirals helps prevent complications from developing4.

Do keep a look-out for regular swine flu updates on the RCOG website.

If you have any comments or queries on the College’s activities regarding swine flu, please email Gerald Chan at gchan@rcog.org.uk


Hewagama et al ‘2009 H1N1 Influenza A and Pregnancy Outcomes in Victoria, Australia’, Clinical Infectious Diseases 2010 50:5, 686-690 http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/650460

I Seppelt ‘Critical illness due to 2009 A/H1N1 influenza in pregnant and postpartum women: population based cohort study’ BMJ 2010;340:c1279 http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/bmj;340/mar18_3/c1279

Nizar Souayah, New Jersey Medical School, and James Sejvar, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; study presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting, April 13, 2010 http://www.aan.com/press/index.cfm?fuseaction=release.view&release=820

Siston et al ‘Pandemic 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Virus Illness Among Pregnant Women in the United States’ JAMA. 2010;303(15):1517-1525. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/303/15/1517

Gerald Chan
Head of Communications & External Affairs
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
27 Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London NW1 4RG
Direct line :+ 44 020 7772 6446
Out of hours : + 44 07986 183 167
Fax : + 44 020 7772 6241
email : gchan@rcog.org.uk
website : www.rcog.org.uk
twitter page : http://twitter.com/RCObsGyn



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