Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Catching the flu while in hospital

14846_loresIf patients catch “the flu” while already hospitalized, it can be severe. This was the message from a recent study led by A/Prof Allen Cheng and published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The researchers identified patients in the FluCAN network of hospitals around Australia in 2010 and 2011 seasons that were detected with influenza at least 3 days after admission. Of the 26 patients identified, many required admission to intensive care and one patient died. It wasn’t possible to determine from whom patients acquired influenza from, but there has long been concern that doctors and nurses can transmit infection, particularly if unvaccinated. This reinforces the current recommendations to give influenza vaccine to patients at risk of hospitalisation, their family members and close contacts, and to health care workers.

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