Leadership Considerations: The Flu Is Ramping Up. Are You Ready?
The influenza season is hitting hard across the U.S.
In fact, in week one of 2020, Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) activity level is high in multiple states, including the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and 33 states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) (Source: CDC)
Read more about the ILI activity as listed on the CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report.
- Viral Surveillance: Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have predominated in most areas of the country. However, Influenza A(H3N2) viruses have predominated in the southeastern United States (HHS Region 4).
- Influenza-associated Hospitalizations: A cumulative rate of 14.6 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 population was reported. The highest rate of hospitalization is among adults aged ≥65, followed by children aged 0-4 years and adults aged 50-64 years.
- 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year in SNFs.
- Infections include urinary tract infection, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and many others.
- Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death; as many as 380,000 people die of these infections each year.
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. Hospitalizations also are often sentinel events in this population group, precipitating disability and potentially resulting in loss of the ability to live independently.
Preventing the 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:
- Infection Control
- Antiviral Treatment
- 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.
- Download a complimentary resource: Infection Control Leadership QuickTip
For more information on preventing seasonal influenza and the 2019-2020 influenza Season, check out the CDC Resources available to health care organizations.
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