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Delaware Health Alert Network #237

August 27, 2010 4:32 pm


Health Alert
LATE SEASON INFLUENZA IN DELAWARE

Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) is reporting a laboratory confirmed case of Influenza A (H3) from one of our acute care hospitals. The purpose of this alert is to remind clinicians that the influenza virus may continue to circulate well into the summer months.

Influenza A (H3N2) virus infections have been recently detected in people in a number of states across the U.S., including two small localized outbreaks. Sporadic cases of influenza and localized summer outbreaks from seasonal influenza viruses are detected each summer.

Clinicians are reminded to consider influenza as a possible diagnosis when evaluating patients with acute respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, even during the summer months. Treatment decisions should not be made on the basis of a negative rapid influenza diagnostic test result since the test has only moderate sensitivity and false positive results also can occur, particularly at times when overall influenza prevalence is low.

For patients for whom laboratory confirmation is desired, or to confirm initial influenza cases in a community in which cases have been tested by rapid influenza diagnostic tests, it is recommended that reverse transcriptase -polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and/or viral culture is utilized, available through DPH Laboratory.

Clinicians should use empirical treatment with influenza antiviral medications for persons hospitalized with suspected influenza, and for suspected influenza infection of any severity in high-risk individuals, regardless of influenza immunization status. Early initiation of treatment provides more optimal clinical responses, although treatment of moderate, severe, or progressive disease begun after 48 hours of symptoms can still provide benefit.

For further information about influenza call the Division of Public Health at 1-800-282-8672 or visit our website: http://www.flu.delaware.gov

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