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Tamiflu in Rivers Could Breed Drug-Resistant Flu Strains

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"The premier flu-fighting drug is contaminating rivers downstream of sewage-treatment facilities, researchers in Japan confirm. The source: urinary excretion by people taking oseltamivir phosphate, best known as Tamiflu.

Concerns are now building that birds, which are natural influenza carriers, are being exposed to waterborne residues of Tamiflu’s active form and might develop and spread drug-resistant strains of seasonal and avian flu.

If Tamiflu resistance does develop in exposed birds, the affected flu strains will probably be conventional seasonal and avian-flu strains, which claim thousands of lives each year, and not H1N1. That’s because H1N1 seems to bypass birds as it spreads among people, noted William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee."
 
 

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