HOW DO I?
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Local surveillance data indicates influenza activity is increasing. The California Department of Public Health recently released updated guidance on the prevention and control of influenza in long term care facilities. Facilities should take the opportunity now to review the updated guidance and make preparations for increased influenza activity.
Summary of Updated Guidance
- Vaccinate residents and health care workers (HCWs). Effective vaccination programs reduce influenza-related complications and deaths, as well as lower HCW absenteeism.
- Post signs requesting guests with respiratory symptoms delay their visits until 5 days after illness onset for symptomatic adults and 10 days after onset for symptomatic children.
- Educate residents and visitors about everyday preventative actions like getting vaccinated, washing their hands, and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Implement daily surveillance for influenza-like illness among residents and HCWs. Keep a daily surveillance log.
- Promptly report suspected outbreaks to the Health Department’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (phone: 831-755-4698; fax: 831-775-8046). Examples of suspected outbreaks include two or more cases of fever and cough within 72 hours (in the absence of another cause) or one laboratory-confirmed case of influenza.
- Initiate antiviral therapy as soon as possible for all residents with suspected or confirmed influenza. Treatment should not wait for results of influenza testing.
- As soon as an influenza outbreak is determined, initiate antiviral chemoprophylaxis for all non-ill residents regardless of vaccination status. Priority should be given to residents living on the same unit or floor.
Please visit the California Department of Public Health’s website and review the complete document: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/hai/Documents/RecommendationsForThePreventionAndControlOfInfluenzaOct2016.pdf. For additional information about prevention and control of influenza, contact the Health Department’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit at 831-755-4698.
Health Alert: Warrants immediate action or attention. Health Advisory: Provides information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action. Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action