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Oseltamivir reduced new cases of influenza in household contacts of people with clinical or confirmed influenza

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 QUESTION: In households with a member who has clinical or confirmed influenza, does oseltamivir prevent the secondary spread of influenza to household contacts?


Randomised {allocation concealed*}, blinded {patients, clinicians, outcome assessors, and statisticians},* placebo controlled trial with follow up during the 7 day dosing period.


76 centres in North America and Europe.


374 households (962 potential contacts, 2 to 8 per household) that had 1 member with clinical or laboratory confirmed influenza (index case) identified within 48 hours of symptom onset (minimum cough and coryza). Households were excluded if they had members who were pregnant or nursing or who had cancer, immunosuppression, HIV infection, or chronic liver or renal disease or if they had elderly members with Mental Status Questionnaire scores <7. Children <12 years of age were excluded as contacts.


During the influenza outbreak in the winter of 1998 to 1999, 195 households with 497 contacts were allocated to oseltamivir, 75 mg once/day for 7 days, …

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  • Source of funding: Hoffmann-La Roche.

  • For correspondence: Dr J S Oxford, St Bartholomew's and Royal London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, The Medical Building, 327 Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK. Fax +44 (0)20 7882 6990.

  • * See glossary.

  • Information provided by author.