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      Transmission of Influenza: Implications for Control in Health Care Settings

      , , ,
      Clinical Infectious Diseases
      University of Chicago Press

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          Abstract

          Annual influenza epidemics in the United States result in an average of >36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations. Influenza can spread rapidly to patients and health care personnel in health care settings after influenza is introduced by visitors, staff, or patients. Influenza outbreaks in health care facilities can have potentially devastating consequences, particularly for immunocompromised persons. Although vaccination of health care personnel and patients is the primary means to prevent and control outbreaks of influenza in health care settings, antiviral influenza medications and isolation precautions are important adjuncts. Although droplet transmission is thought to be the primary mode of influenza transmission, limited evidence is available to support the relative clinical importance of contact, droplet, and droplet nuclei (airborne) transmission of influenza. In this article, the results of studies on the modes of influenza transmission and their relevant isolation precautions are reviewed.

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          Most cited references46

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          Mortality associated with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in the United States.

          Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cause substantial morbidity and mortality. Statistical methods used to estimate deaths in the United States attributable to influenza have not accounted for RSV circulation. To develop a statistical model using national mortality and viral surveillance data to estimate annual influenza- and RSV-associated deaths in the United States, by age group, virus, and influenza type and subtype. Age-specific Poisson regression models using national viral surveillance data for the 1976-1977 through 1998-1999 seasons were used to estimate influenza-associated deaths. Influenza- and RSV-associated deaths were simultaneously estimated for the 1990-1991 through 1998-1999 seasons. Attributable deaths for 3 categories: underlying pneumonia and influenza, underlying respiratory and circulatory, and all causes. Annual estimates of influenza-associated deaths increased significantly between the 1976-1977 and 1998-1999 seasons for all 3 death categories (P<.001 for each category). For the 1990-1991 through 1998-1999 seasons, the greatest mean numbers of deaths were associated with influenza A(H3N2) viruses, followed by RSV, influenza B, and influenza A(H1N1). Influenza viruses and RSV, respectively, were associated with annual means (SD) of 8097 (3084) and 2707 (196) underlying pneumonia and influenza deaths, 36 155 (11 055) and 11 321 (668) underlying respiratory and circulatory deaths, and 51 203 (15 081) and 17 358 (1086) all-cause deaths. For underlying respiratory and circulatory deaths, 90% of influenza- and 78% of RSV-associated deaths occurred among persons aged 65 years or older. Influenza was associated with more deaths than RSV in all age groups except for children younger than 1 year. On average, influenza was associated with 3 times as many deaths as RSV. Mortality associated with both influenza and RSV circulation disproportionately affects elderly persons. Influenza deaths have increased substantially in the last 2 decades, in part because of aging of the population, underscoring the need for better prevention measures, including more effective vaccines and vaccination programs for elderly persons.
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            Effects of influenza vaccination of health-care workers on mortality of elderly people in long-term care: a randomised controlled trial.

            Vaccination of health-care workers has been claimed to prevent nosocomial influenza infection of elderly patients in long-term care. Data are, however, limited on this strategy. We aimed to find out whether vaccination of health-care workers lowers mortality and the frequency of virologically proven influenza in such patients. In a parallel-group study, health-care workers in 20 long-term elderly-care hospitals (range 44-105 patients) were randomly offered or not offered influenza vaccine (cluster randomisation, stratified for policy for vaccination of patients and hospital size). All deaths among patients were recorded over 6 months in the winter of 1996-97. We selected a random sample of 50% of patients for virological surveillance for influenza, with combined nasal and throat swabs taken every 2 weeks during the epidemic period. Swabs were tested by tissue culture and PCR for influenza viruses A and B. Influenza vaccine uptake in health-care workers was 50.9% in hospitals in which they were routinely offered vaccine, compared with 4.9% in those in which they were not. The uncorrected rate of mortality in patients was 102 (13.6%) of 749 in vaccine hospitals compared with 154 (22.4%) of 688 in no-vaccine hospitals (odds ratio 0.58 [95% CI 0.40-0.84], p=0.014). The two groups did not differ for proportions of patients positive for influenza infection (5.4% and 6.7%, respectively); at necropsy, PCR was positive in none of 17 patients from vaccine hospitals and six (20%) of 30 from no-vaccine hospitals (p=0.055). Vaccination of health-care workers was associated with a substantial decrease in mortality among patients. However, virological surveillance showed no associated decrease in non-fatal influenza infection in patients.
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              Survival of Influenza Viruses on Environmental Surfaces

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Clinical Infectious Diseases
                Clinical Infectious Diseases
                University of Chicago Press
                1058-4838
                1537-6591
                October 15 2003
                October 15 2003
                : 37
                : 8
                : 1094-1101
                Article
                10.1086/378292
                14523774
                a4e7d949-2d4d-4ff0-91a7-ffeb3ac762a8
                © 2003
                History

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