According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent FluView Activity Update, seasonal influenza activity has increased sharply in the United States, with 36 states now reporting widespread flu activity.
While flu vaccination is still recommended for people who have not yet gotten vaccinated, antiviral drugs are an important second line of defense that can be used to treat flu illness. The CDC recommends the use of antiviral drugs as early as possible to treat flu illness in people who are very sick with flu and those at high risk of serious flu complications.
Visit the CDC’s current FluView and FluView Interactive for more information.
The Society of Critical Care Medicine also has numerous resources related to influenza at www.sccm.org/disaster.
Influenza activity is increasing across the country and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports of severe influenza illness.
Since October 2015, the CDC has detected co-circulation of influenza A(H3N2), A(H1N1)pdm09, and influenza B viruses. However, H1N1pdm09 viruses have predominated in recent weeks. The CDC has issued a Health Advisory urging rapid antiviral treatment of very ill and high-risk suspect influenza patients without waiting for testing.
The CDC has received recent reports of severe respiratory illness among young- to middle-aged adults with H1N1pdm09 virus infection, some of whom required intensive care unit admission. Fatalities have been reported. Some of these patients reportedly tested negative for influenza by RIDT (rapid influenza diagnostic test); their influenza diagnosis was made later with molecular assays. Most of these patients were reportedly unvaccinated. H1N1pdm09 virus infection in the past has caused severe illness in some children and young- and middle-aged adults.
In response to this cluster of cases, mostly reported in Arizona, the U.S. Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group has published a comprehensive review of the salient epidemiologic, diagnostic and therapeutic features that have been learned from the experience with influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection in adults.
Clinicians should continue efforts to vaccinate patients this season for as long as influenza viruses are circulating, and they should promptly start antiviral treatment of severely ill and high-risk patients if influenza is suspected or confirmed.
Keep up to date on influenza with the CDC’s weekly surveillance reports:
Visit www.sccm.org/disaster for additional influenza resources.
Intensive care units (ICUs) have already seen an influx of patients with the influenza virus this year, including influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 (pH1N1). That activity is expected to increase substantially in the coming weeks and months. Prevention with influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; all persons aged 6 months and older, including healthcare personnel, should be vaccinated now.
The Society of Critical Care Medicine has gathered influenza resources to keep ICU professionals informed.
Staying up to date on the latest developments this influenza season is vital as ICU professionals strive to provide the Right Care, Right Now.™
A new bird flu virus, influenza A (H7N9), has killed or critically stricken patients in China. Genetic evaluation of the virus shows it has the ability to mutate readily.
The World Health Organization notes, “analysis of the genes of these viruses suggests that although they have evolved from avian (bird) viruses, they show signs of adaptation to growth in mammalian species.” So far, H7N9 has not been found to be transmissible from human to human; those who’ve contracted it have had contact with poultry.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a diagnostic test, advising clinicians to be on the lookout for H7N9 in “patients with respiratory illness and an appropriate travel or exposure history.” Most of the people identified with the new bird flu have had symptoms of severe pneumonia such as chest congestion, difficulty breathing, fever, and severe cough. The Society will continue to monitor this situation and will keep members abreast of any new information.