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Fighting the Flu is Nothing to Sneeze At!

The influenza season is hitting hard across the U.S.

In fact, the Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report indicates that influenza-like illness (ILI) shows an elevated activity of Influenza A (H1N1)pdm09, Influenza A (H3N2), and Influenza B viruses as they continue to co-circulate. (Source: CDC)

Check out the ILI activity as listed on the CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report for the week ending January 5, 2019.

Vital indicators include:

  • Viral Surveillance: Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have predominated in most areas of the country.However, Influenza A(H3) viruses have predominated in the southeastern United States (HHS Region 4).
  • Geographic Spread of Influenza: The geographic spread of influenza in 30 states was reported as widespread; Puerto Rico and 17 states reported regional activity; two states reported local activity; the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and one state reported sporadic activity; Guam did not report.
  • Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: A cumulative rate of 9.1 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported. The highest hospitalization rate is among adults 65 years and older (22.9 hospitalizations per 100,000 population).

Did you know?

  • 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year in SNFs.[1]
  • Infections include urinary tract infection, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and many others.[1]
  • Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death; as many as 380,000 people die of these infections each year.[1]

Leadership Considerations:

Having a well-written and effective infection prevention and control plan is key to success. Preventing influenza and treating it promptly may reduce the risk of influenza-associated complications, including hospitalization and death.

It is estimated that 90 percent of seasonal influenza-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal influenza-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.[2] Hospitalizations also are often sentinel events in this population group, precipitating disability and potentially resulting in loss of the ability to live independently.

Preventing transmission of influenza viruses and other infectious agents requires a multi-faceted approach that includes developing a system with policies and procedures for the following:

  1. Vaccination
  2. Testing
  3. Infection Control
  4. Antiviral Treatment
  5. Antiviral Chemoprophylaxis

Preventing influenza and treating it promptly may reduce the risk of influenza-associated complications, including hospitalization and death. Consider the following:

  • Policies: ensure staff members are performing appropriate hand hygiene and that appropriate infection control measures are being utilized facility-wide.
  • Procedures: prepare the staff for what to do in case of an outbreak and what steps can be taken to minimize the number of Influenza cases as the season moves forward.
  • Resources: Pathway Health has many resources to assist related to infection control and outbreak management, as well as online resources through the PathwayLearningNetwork.com.

For more information on preventing seasonal influenza and the 2018-2019 influenza Season, check out the CDC Resources available to health care organizations.

Resources:

1. CDC.gov/longtermcare
2. CDC.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm

Need assistance with infection control processes, systems and training? Pathway Health’s team of experts and trainers are ready to assist. Contact us today.

Susan Lagrange

Director of Education

Pathway Health