The vital role of influenza vaccination of health care personnel

Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 09/2012; 52(5):714-6. DOI: 10.1331/JAPhA.2012.12536
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    The Lancet 02/2000; 355(9198):93-7. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(99)05190-9 · 39.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Influenza vaccination of health care workers has been recommended since 1984. Multiple strategies to enhance vaccination rates have been suggested, but national rates have remained low. BJC HealthCare is a large Midwestern health care organization with approximately 26,000 employees. Because organizational vaccination rates remained below target levels, influenza vaccination was made a condition of employment for all employees in 2008. Medical or religious exemptions could be requested. Predetermined medical contraindications include hypersensitivity to eggs, prior hypersensitivity reaction to influenza vaccine, and history of Guillan-Barré syndrome. Medical exemption requests were reviewed by occupational health nurses and their medical directors. Employees who were neither vaccinated nor exempted by 15 December 2008 were not scheduled for work. Employees still not vaccinated or exempt by 15 January 2009 were terminated. Overall, 25,561 (98.4%) of 25,980 active employees were vaccinated. Ninety employees (0.3%) received religious exemptions, and 321 (1.2%) received medical exemptions. Eight employees (0.03%) were not vaccinated or exempted. Reasons for medical exemption included allergy to eggs (107 [33%]), prior allergic reaction or allergy to other vaccine component (83 [26%]), history of Guillan-Barré syndrome (15 [5%]), and other (116 [36%]), including 14 because of pregnancy. Many requests reflected misinformation about the vaccine. A mandatory influenza vaccination campaign successfully increased vaccination rates. Fewer employees sought medical or religious exemptions than had signed declination statements during the previous year. A standardized medical exemption request form would simplify the request and review process for employees, their physicians, and occupational health and will be used next year.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 02/2010; 50(4):459-64. DOI:10.1086/650752 · 9.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The dynamics of viral shedding and symptoms following influenza virus infection are key factors when considering epidemic control measures. The authors reviewed published studies describing the course of influenza virus infection in placebo-treated and untreated volunteers challenged with wild-type influenza virus. A total of 56 different studies with 1,280 healthy participants were considered. Viral shedding increased sharply between 0.5 and 1 day after challenge and consistently peaked on day 2. The duration of viral shedding averaged over 375 participants was 4.80 days (95% confidence interval: 4.31, 5.29). The frequency of symptomatic infection was 66.9% (95% confidence interval: 58.3, 74.5). Fever was observed in 37.0% of A/H1N1, 40.6% of A/H3N2 (p = 0.86), and 7.5% of B infections (p = 0.001). The total symptoms scores increased on day 1 and peaked on day 3. Systemic symptoms peaked on day 2. No such data exist for children or elderly subjects, but epidemiologic studies suggest that the natural history might differ. The present analysis confirms prior expert opinion on the duration of viral shedding or the frequency of asymptomatic influenza infection, extends prior knowledge on the dynamics of viral shedding and symptoms, and provides original results on the frequency of respiratory symptoms or fever.
    American journal of epidemiology 05/2008; 167(7):775-85. DOI:10.1093/aje/kwm375 · 4.98 Impact Factor