Article

Influenza: Changing approaches to prevention and treatment in travelers

Divsion of Geographic Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
Journal of Travel Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.53). 01/2005; 12(1):36-44. DOI: 10.2310/7060.2005.00007
Source: PubMed
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    • "1) Public transportation usage rates are positively associated with hospitalization rates. Transportation networks increase the spread of pathogens (DeHart, 2003; Khan et al., 2009) and populations exposed to public transportation are at an elevated risk of illness due to the higher probability of contact with pathogens (Freedman and Leder, 2005). Because influenza transmission occurs through touch, droplet and inhalation of aerosol particles, influenza is also transmissible within the confines of public transport cabins and passenger station platforms (Wein and Atkinson, 2009; Lindsley et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus subtype (H1N1) pandemic had a large impact in the United States of America (USA), causing an estimated 192,000 to 398,000 hospitalizations and 8,720 to 18,050 deaths between April 2009 and mid-March 2010. Recent research on the 2009 H1N1 pandemic has largely focused on individual, non-spatial demographic characterizations (e.g. age and race/ethnicity) associated with H1N1 hospitalizations. Broader ecological factors such as transportation use, land use and other socioeconomic factors are important aspects of influenza studies that have not been empirically examined. This research explores and identifies ecological factors associated with 2009 H1N1 pandemic hospitalization rates. We conducted a spatial regression analysis of county level hospitalization rates from 3 April to 15 September, 2009 obtained via the California Department of Public Health. Hospitalization rates were found to be spatially dependent. Public transportation usage rates and agricultural land use proportions were significant environmental factors positively related to hospitalization rates. Consistent with public health official's assumptions and existing evidence, county percentages of persons less than 18 years of age were positively associated with hospitalization. These findings help to clarify the limited consensus and dubious evidence on the role of broader ecological factors associated with pandemic influenza. A better understanding of the ecological risk factors associated with hospitalizations should also benefit public health officials with respect to their work aiming at improving emergency supply allocation and non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies in the context of an influenza pandemic.
    Geospatial health 11/2011; 6(1):95-105. DOI:10.4081/gh.2011.161 · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    • "Special risk groups, such as very young children, the elderly and those suffering from chronic lung or heart diseases are at risk for serious influenza complications, e.g. bacterial pneumonia [4,5]. Influenza reaches peak prevalence in winter in the Northern hemisphere (Nov-Apr) - as well as in the Southern hemisphere (Apr-Oct) and circulates year-round in the tropics [6,7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Influenza is one of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases in travellers. By performing two cross-sectional questionnaire surveys during winter 2009 and winter 2010 among European travellers to resource-limited destinations, we aimed to investigate knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) regarding seasonal influenza vaccination. Questionnaires were distributed in the waiting room to the visitors of the University of Zurich Centre for Travel' Health (CTH) in January and February 2009 and January 2010 prior to travel health counselling (CTH09 and CTH10). Questions included demographic data, travel-related characteristics and KAP regarding influenza vaccination. Data were analysed by using SPSS® version 14.0 for Windows. Differences in proportions were compared using the Chi-square test and the significance level was set at p ≤ 0.05. Predictors for seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccination were determined by multiple logistic regression analyses. With a response rate of 96.6%, 906 individuals were enrolled and 868 (92.5%) provided complete data. Seasonal influenza vaccination coverage was 13.7% (n = 119). Only 43 (14.2%) participants were vaccinated against pandemic influenza A/H1N1, mostly having received both vaccines simultaneously, the seasonal and pandemic one. Job-related purposes (44, 37%), age > 64 yrs (25, 21%) and recommendations of the family physician (27, 22.7%) were the most often reported reasons for being vaccinated. In the multiple logistic regression analyses of the pooled data increasing age (OR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.01 - 1.04), a business trip (OR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.17 - 0.92) and seasonal influenza vaccination in the previous winter seasons (OR = 12.91, 95% CI 8.09 - 20.58) were independent predictors for seasonal influenza vaccination in 2009 or 2010. Influenza vaccination recommended by the family doctor (327, 37.7%), travel to regions with known high risk of influenza (305, 35.1%), and influenza vaccination required for job purposes (233, 26.8%) were most frequently mentioned to consider influenza vaccination. Risk perception and vaccination coverage concerning seasonal and pandemic influenza was very poor among travellers to resource-limited destinations when compared to traditional at-risk groups. Previous access to influenza vaccination substantially facilitated vaccinations in the subsequent year. Information strategies about influenza should be intensified and include health professionals, e.g. family physicians, travel medicine practitioners and business enterprises.
    BMC Public Health 07/2010; 10(1). DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-10-402 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Annually, millions of Muslims embark on a religious pilgrimage called the "Hajj" to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The mass migration during the Hajj is unparalleled in scale, and pilgrims face numerous health hazards. The extreme congestion of people and vehicles during this time amplifies health risks, such as those from infectious diseases, that vary each year. Since the Hajj is dictated by the lunar calendar, which is shorter than the Gregorian calendar, it presents public-health policy planners with a moving target, demanding constant preparedness. We review the communicable and non-communicable hazards that pilgrims face. With the rise in global travel, preventing disease transmission has become paramount to avoid the spread of infectious diseases, including SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), avian influenza, and haemorrhagic fever. We examine the response of clinicians, the Saudi Ministry of Health, and Hajj authorities to these unique problems, and list health recommendations for prospective pilgrims.
    The Lancet 04/2006; 367(9515):1008-15. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68429-8 · 45.22 Impact Factor
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