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      A Surveillance System to Reduce Transmission of Pandemic H1N1 (2009) Influenza in a 2600-Bed Medical Center

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          Concerns have been raised about how the transmission of emerging infectious diseases from patients to healthcare workers (HCWs) and vice versa could be recognized and prevented in a timely manner. An effective strategy to block transmission of pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza in HCWs is important.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          An infection control program was implemented to survey and prevent nosocomial outbreaks of H1N1 (2009) influenza at a 2,600-bed, tertiary-care academic hospital. In total, 4,963 employees at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital recorded their temperature and received online education on control practices for influenza infections. Administration records provided vaccination records and occupational characteristics of all HCWs. Early recognition of a pandemic H1N1 (2009) influenza case was followed by a semi-structured questionnaire to analyze possible routes of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact. Surveillance spanned August 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010; 51 HCWs were confirmed to have novel H1N1 (2009) influenza by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Prevalence of patient contact, household contact, or unspecified contact infection was 13.7% (7/51), 13.7% (7/51), and 72.5% (37/51), respectively. The prevalence of the novel H1N1 infection was significantly lower among vaccinated HCWs than among unvaccinated HCWs (p<0.001). Higher viral loads in throat swabs were found in HCWs with patient and household contact infection than in those with unspecified contact infection (4.15 vs. 3.53 copies/mL, log 10, p = 0.035).


          A surveillance system with daily temperature recordings and online education for HCWs is important for a low attack rate of H1N1 (2009) influenza transmission before H1N1 (2009) influenza vaccination is available, and the attack rate is further decreased after mass vaccination. Unspecified contact infection rates were significantly higher than that of patient contact and household contact infection, highlighting the need for public education of influenza transmission in addition to hospital infection control.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Emergence of a novel swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus in humans.

          On April 15 and April 17, 2009, novel swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus (S-OIV) was identified in specimens obtained from two epidemiologically unlinked patients in the United States. The same strain of the virus was identified in Mexico, Canada, and elsewhere. We describe 642 confirmed cases of human S-OIV infection identified from the rapidly evolving U.S. outbreak. Enhanced surveillance was implemented in the United States for human infection with influenza A viruses that could not be subtyped. Specimens were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction confirmatory testing for S-OIV. From April 15 through May 5, a total of 642 confirmed cases of S-OIV infection were identified in 41 states. The ages of patients ranged from 3 months to 81 years; 60% of patients were 18 years of age or younger. Of patients with available data, 18% had recently traveled to Mexico, and 16% were identified from school outbreaks of S-OIV infection. The most common presenting symptoms were fever (94% of patients), cough (92%), and sore throat (66%); 25% of patients had diarrhea, and 25% had vomiting. Of the 399 patients for whom hospitalization status was known, 36 (9%) required hospitalization. Of 22 hospitalized patients with available data, 12 had characteristics that conferred an increased risk of severe seasonal influenza, 11 had pneumonia, 8 required admission to an intensive care unit, 4 had respiratory failure, and 2 died. The S-OIV was determined to have a unique genome composition that had not been identified previously. A novel swine-origin influenza A virus was identified as the cause of outbreaks of febrile respiratory infection ranging from self-limited to severe illness. It is likely that the number of confirmed cases underestimates the number of cases that have occurred. 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Clinical progression and viral load in a community outbreak of coronavirus-associated SARS pneumonia: a prospective study.

            We investigated the temporal progression of the clinical, radiological, and virological changes in a community outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). We followed up 75 patients for 3 weeks managed with a standard treatment protocol of ribavirin and corticosteroids, and assessed the pattern of clinical disease, viral load, risk factors for poor clinical outcome, and the usefulness of virological diagnostic methods. Fever and pneumonia initially improved but 64 (85%) patients developed recurrent fever after a mean of 8.9 (SD 3.1) days, 55 (73%) had watery diarrhoea after 7.5 (2.3) days, 60 (80%) had radiological worsening after 7.4 (2.2) days, and respiratory symptoms worsened in 34 (45%) after 8.6 (3.0) days. In 34 (45%) patients, improvement of initial pulmonary lesions was associated with appearance of new radiological lesions at other sites. Nine (12%) patients developed spontaneous pneumomediastinum and 15 (20%) developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in week 3. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase (RT) PCR of nasopharyngeal aspirates in 14 patients (four with ARDS) showed peak viral load at day 10, and at day 15 a load lower than at admission. Age and chronic hepatitis B virus infection treated with lamivudine were independent significant risk factors for progression to ARDS (p=0.001). SARS-associated coronavirus in faeces was seen on RT-PCR in 65 (97%) of 67 patients at day 14. The mean time to seroconversion was 20 days. The consistent clinical progression, shifting radiological infiltrates, and an inverted V viral-load profile suggest that worsening in week 2 is unrelated to uncontrolled viral replication but may be related to immunopathological damage.
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              The efficacy and cost effectiveness of vaccination against influenza among elderly persons living in the community.

              Despite recommendations for annual vaccination against influenza, more than half of elderly Americans do not receive this vaccine. In a serial cohort study, we assessed the efficacy and cost effectiveness of influenza vaccine administered to older persons living in the community. Using administrative data bases, we studied men and women over 64 years of age who were enrolled in a large health maintenance organization in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. We examined the rate of vaccination and the occurrence of influenza and its complications in each of three seasons: 1990-1991, 1991-1992, and 1992-1993. Outcomes were adjusted for age, sex, diagnoses indicating a high risk, use of medications, and previous use of health care services. Each cohort included more than 25,000 persons 65 years of age or older. Immunization rates ranged from 45 percent to 58 percent. Although the vaccine recipients had more coexisting illnesses at base line than those who did not receive the vaccine, during each influenza season vaccination was associated with a reduction in the rate of hospitalization for pneumonia and influenza (by 48 to 57 percent, P < or = 0.002) and for all acute and chronic respiratory conditions (by 27 to 39 percent, P < or = 0.01). Vaccination was also associated with a 37 percent reduction (P = 0.04) in the rate of hospitalization for congestive heart failure during the 1991-1992 season, when influenza A was epidemic. The costs of hospitalization for all types of illness studied were lower in the vaccinated group during 1991-1992 (range of reduction, 47 to 66 percent; P < 0.005) and for acute and chronic respiratory conditions and congestive heart failure in 1990-1991 (reductions of 37 percent and 43 percent, respectively; P < or = 0.05). Direct savings per year averaged $117 per person vaccinated (range, $21 to $235), with cumulative savings of nearly $5 million. Vaccination was also associated with reductions of 39 to 54 percent in mortality from all causes during the three influenza seasons (P < 0.001). For elderly citizens living in the community, vaccination against influenza is associated with reductions in the rate of hospitalization and in deaths from influenza and its complications, as compared with the rates in unvaccinated elderly persons, and vaccination produces direct dollar savings.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                13 March 2012
                : 7
                : 3
                [1 ]Department of Nursing, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
                [2 ]Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine (KCGMH-CGU), Kaohsiung, Taiwan
                [3 ]Department of Pathology, KCGMH-CGU, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
                [4 ]Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, KCGMH-CGU, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
                [5 ]Department of Medical Research, Show Chwan Memorial Hospital in Chang Bing, Changhua, Taiwan
                [6 ]Department of Pediatrics, Show Chwan Memorial Hospital in Chang Bing, Changhua, Taiwan
                Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, United States of America
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: TPC KDY. Performed the experiments: LW LWH HLE HLY. Analyzed the data: CCL LW. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: LW JWL IKL CCW LSC. Wrote the paper: CCL LW KDY.

                Chu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Pages: 7
                Research Article
                Infectious Diseases



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