Preventive Steps Helped Summer Campers Avoid Swine Flu

MONDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- An Alabama summer camp managed to contain the spread of swine flu by giving preventive Tamiflu to kids at risk and encouraging the use of sanitizers for hands and surfaces, a new report says.

Children are especially vulnerable to swine flu, also known as H1N1. The disease struck three boys who attended a two-week boys' camp in July 2009. They were given medication and sent home, according to the report.

For 10 days, campers and counselors who lived in adjoining cabins took a drug called oseltamivir (Tamiflu) with an eye toward preventing infection.

"Alcohol-based hand sanitizer was provided at each of the daily activities, in the boys' cabins and in the dining hall, and counselors were educated by the medical staff on the spread of influenza and its prevention through good hand hygiene," the authors wrote. "All cabins, bathrooms and community sports equipment were sprayed or wiped down with disinfectant each day."

No one else at the camp became ill or tested positive for swine flu after they got home. However, 78% of the staff and counselors and 31% of the campers suffered from one or more side effects -- including nausea, vomiting and headache -- from the preventive medication. But they didn't stop taking it.

The report was released online Feb. 1 and will be published in the April print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

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SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Feb. 1, 2010