Dear DBA Community,

It cannot be stressed enough that every DBA patient has a different situation and response to illness.  Please work with your hematologist, pediatrician or internist in deciding what are the best options for you and your family. These are general recommendations.  The care of each patient should be individualized with his or her physician.

There have been several inquiries about H1N1 (swine flu) and DBA.  We at the DBA Registry advise the patients treated here at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New York to get immunized for both the H1N1 virus as well as the seasonal flu.  If you have received the seasonal flu vaccine in the past with no issues, the H1N1 vaccine is being prepared in the same way and should potentially be safe for you or your child.

 If you have severe, life threatening allergies, reactions or events to any of the substances in the vaccine, you should not get receive it (eggs or preservative).  There is a preservative free form of the vaccine which contains no Thimerosal.  It comes in a prefilled syringe.  Only the inactivated form of any flu vaccine should be given for DBA patients as well as family members.  The nasal mist (given up the nose) is live virus and should not be used. The vaccine has been given to neutropenic cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

The goal is prevention so vaccination is preferred to the actual virus.  If the DBA patient is not a candidate for the H1N1 vaccine then the members of the household should be vaccinated in hopes of protecting the patient.

If your child should get the H1N1 virus, Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) and Relenza (Zanamivir) are the only antivirals to help reduce the time that you have the virus and minimize the symptoms.  It does not “cure” the virus.  Relenza is not to be used if you have asthma or lung disease and are younger than 7 years of age.

In 1976, an earlier type of swine flu vaccine was associated with cases of Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS). Since then, flu vaccines have not been clearly linked to GBS. For more information please on GBS, seehttp://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/gbs_qa.htm.

For more information on the H1N1 flu and the vaccine go to:
www.flu.gov
www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/