Avian influenza: an osteopathic component to treatment
Books and documents
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
Osteopath Med Prim Care. 2007 Jul 9;1:10.
Raymond J Hruby, Keasha N Hoffman
Avian influenza is an infection caused by the H5N1 virus. The infection is highly contagious among birds, and only a few known cases of human avian influenza have been documented. However, healthcare experts around the world are concerned that mutation or genetic exchange with more commonly transmitted human influenza viruses could result in a pandemic of avian influenza. Their concern remains in spite of the fact that the first United States vaccine against the H5N1 virus was recently approved. Under these circumstances the fear is that a pandemic of avian influenza could result in the kind of mortality that was seen with the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, where the number of deaths was estimated to be as high as 40 million people. Retrospective data gathered by the American Osteopathic Association shortly after the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic have suggested that osteopathic physicians (DOs), using their distinctive osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) methods, observed significantly lower morbidity and mortality among their patients as compared to those treated by allopathic physicians (MDs) with standard medical care available at the time. In light of the limited prevention and treatment options available, it seems logical that a preparedness plan for the treatment of avian influenza should include these OMT procedures, provided by DOs and other healthcare workers capable of being trained to perform these therapeutic interventions. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the characteristics of avian influenza, describe the success of DOs during the 1918-1919 Spanish influenza pandemic, describe the evidence base for the inclusion of OMT as part of the preparedness plan for the treatment of avian influenza, and describe some of the specific OMT procedures that could be utilized as part of the treatment protocol for avian influenza patients.