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CDC uses flu outbreak to remind LTC facilities of precautions, protocol

January 5, 2012
by Kevin Kolus
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A recent investigation into an outbreak of respiratory infection at a facility for young adults has spurred the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to remind long-term care facilities to have influenza management strategies.  

The investigation, covered in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that while influenza vaccinations had occurred and antiviral drugs were used to treat ill residents, the drugs were not administered at a time optimal to the patients’ health.

“Influenza vaccination is a well-known tool and that’s great, but there is evidence that awareness regarding CDC’s recommendations on the use of antiviral medications in residential and LTC facility influenza outbreaks may not be as high,” said Lyn Finelli, chief of the Influenza Division’s Surveillance and Outbreak Response Team at CDC, in a release. “Quick implementation of a complete outbreak strategy that includes antiviral drugs is critical to reducing illness, hospitalizations and deaths in influenza outbreaks.”

According to the CDC release, outbreak control measures should be implemented when there are two or more residents with influenza-like illness within a 72-hour period. Influenza does not need to be laboratory-confirmed in both residents to begin implementing measures, the CDC said.

Antiviral drugs also should be given for prevention during residential and long-term care facility outbreaks to all non-ill residents as soon as an outbreak is suspected, the CDC said.

Consolidated influenza-related guidance for long-term care facilities is available on the CDC website here.

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