MMWR News Synopsis for September 17, 2015
- Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Health Care Personnel — United States, 2014–15 Influenza Season
- Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Pregnant Women — United States, 2014–15 Influenza Season
- Clinical Inquiries Received by CDC Regarding Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in Children — United States, July 9, 2014–January 4, 2015
Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Health Care Personnel — United States, 2014–15 Influenza Season
CDC Media Relations
Health care personnel (HCP) should be vaccinated for flu every flu season to protect themselves, their patients, and their families from seasonal flu. Comprehensive, work-site intervention strategies that include education, promotion, and easy access to vaccination at no cost for multiple days can increase HCP vaccination coverage. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all health-care personnel (HCP) be vaccinated annually against influenza. Vaccination of HCP can reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality among HCP and their patients. Overall, 77.3 percent of HCP reported receiving an influenza vaccination in the 2014-15 season, similar to the 75.2 percent coverage among HCP reported in the 2013-14 season. Coverage was highest among HCP working in hospitals (90.4 percent) and lowest among HCP working in long-term care (LTC) settings (63.9 percent). Vaccination coverage was 96 percent among HCP with an employer requirement for vaccination. Among HCP without an employer requirement for vaccination, vaccination coverage was higher for HCP working in settings where vaccination was offered on-site at no cost for one day (73.6 percent) or multiple days (83.9 percent) compared with HCP working in settings where vaccination was promoted but not offered on-site (59.5 percent) or not promoted in any manner (44.0 percent).
Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Pregnant Women — United States, 2014–15 Influenza Season
CDC Media Relations
Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery. Flu vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against mothers and their unborn babies against the flu. A provider recommendation combined with an offer to administer the flu vaccine at the time of visit remains one of the best ways to increase flu vaccination among pregnant women. Pregnant women and infants are at increased risk for influenza-related complications. The risk of influenza among pregnant women and their infants age <6 months can be reduced by vaccinating pregnant women. During the 2014–15 influenza season, 50.3% of pregnant women were vaccinated before or during pregnancy, similar to the 2013-14 season. Women who received a provider offer of vaccination had substantially higher vaccination coverage than those who did not receive an offer of vaccination. Barriers to vaccination included negative attitudes about safety and efficacy of influenza vaccination and unfounded concern that vaccination would cause influenza. Influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women increased substantially during the 2009–10 influenza season and the increased coverage was sustained during the 2010–11 through 2013–14 seasons.
Clinical Inquiries Received by CDC Regarding Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in Children — United States, July 9, 2014–January 4, 2015
CDC Media Relations
Children have unique needs that public health and healthcare providers need to plan for and consider during emergencies. Public health and healthcare providers, while maintaining a high level of vigilance for Ebola among ill pediatric patients, will need to be prepared to provide child-focused care that includes timely diagnosis and treatment of common pediatric illnesses like influenza, as well as Ebola, and reflects overall best practices in supporting children’s psychosocial needs. CDC responded to Ebola-related inquiries for 89 children from July 9, 2014 through January 4, 2015. No children tested positive for Ebola, but many had common illnesses, including malaria and flu. Overall, 33 children had traveled to an Ebola-affected country and 32 children had clinical signs or symptoms that could be consistent with Ebola. Unique concerns arose with these pediatric patients, such as if and how parents should be allowed in an examination room with their child. Records suggest clinical care was delayed for at least five children, either because of difficulty finding a hospital to evaluate a child with signs and symptoms consistent with Ebola or hospital reluctance to perform laboratory tests for illnesses such as malaria and influenza because of concerns about lab contamination.
Update: Influenza Activity – United States and Worldwide, May 24–September 5, 2015
CDC Media Relations
CDC recommends yearly influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older without contraindications. Vaccination should begin in October, if possible and continue throughout the influenza season as long as influenza viruses are circulating. While a yearly influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza, prescription antiviral medications can treat influenza illness and are recommended for use in patients who are very sick with influenza or who are sick and at high risk of serious influenzacomplications. Influenza antiviral drugs can lessen duration and severity of illness and help prevent more severe illness. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of getting sick. The United States experienced typical low levels of seasonal influenza activity from May 24 to September 5, 2015; and influenza A (H1N1)pdm09, influenza A (H3N2), and influenza B viruses were detected worldwide and were identified sporadically in the United States. Typical seasonal patterns of influenza activity occurred in the Southern Hemisphere. It is not possible to predict which influenza virus will predominate or how severe influenza disease activity will be during the 2015–16 influenza season, nor is it possible to say how effective influenza vaccine will be, however, laboratory analysis of influenza viruses to date suggests that the majority of viruses circulating worldwide in the past few months are similar to the 2015-16 vaccine viruses.
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