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KEY CONCEPTS

KEY CONCEPTS

  • image Influenza is a viral illness associated with high mortality and high hospitalization rates among persons older than 65 years of age. The aging of the population is contributing to an increased disease burden in the United States.

  • image Seasonal influenza epidemics are the result of viral antigenic drift, which is why the influenza vaccine is changed on a yearly basis. Antigenic drift forms the foundation of the recommendation for annual influenza vaccination.

  • image The acquisition of a new hemagglutinin and/or neuraminidase by the influenza virus is called antigenic shift, which results in a novel influenza virus that has the potential to cause a pandemic.

  • image The primary route of influenza transmission is person-to-person via inhalation of respiratory droplets, and transmission can occur for as long as the infected person is shedding virus from the respiratory tract.

  • image Clinical diagnosis of influenza is difficult. Classic signs and symptoms include abrupt onset of fever, muscle pain, headache, malaise, nonproductive cough, sore throat, and rhinitis. These signs and symptoms usually resolve within 1 week of presentation.

  • image In the United States, the primary mechanism of influenza prevention is annual vaccination. Vaccination not only prevents influenza illness and influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths but may also decrease healthcare resource use and the overall cost to society.

  • image The inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) and the live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) are commercially available for prevention of seasonal influenza. Both vaccines contain influenza A subtypes H3N2 and H1N1, and influenza B virus, which are initially grown in hens’ eggs.

  • image Antiviral drugs for prophylaxis of influenza should be considered adjuncts to vaccine and are not replacements for annual vaccination.

  • image The sooner antiviral drugs are started after the onset of illness, within 48 hours of symptom onset, the more effective they are.

  • image Neurominidase inhibitors (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir) and cap-dependent endonuclease inhibitor (baloxavir) that have activity against both influenza A and influenza B viruses. Although the adamantanes inherently have activity against influenza A H1N1 viruses, they are no longer used clinically due to overwhelming viral resistance.

PRECLASS ACTIVITY

Preclass Engaged Learning Activity

  1. Complete the influenza vaccine table

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    Approved Influenza Vaccines for Different Age Groups—United States
    Vaccine Trade Name Manufacturer Dose/Presentation Thimerosal Mercury Content (mcg Hg/0.5-mL dose) Age Group Number of Doses
    aIIV3
    IIV3 High Dose
    IIV4
    IIV4
    IIV4
    IIV4
    IIV4-High Dose
    ccIIV4
    RIV4
    LAIV4

  2. Complete the below treatment recommendation for influenza and duration of use. Please define appropriate ages for zanamivir use

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    Treatment Chemoprophylaxis
    Oseltamivir
    Adults
    Children ≥12 months by Body Weight (kg)
    ≤15 kg
    >15 kg to 23 kg
    >23 kg to 40 kg
    >40 kg
    Zanamivir
    Adults
    Children
    Peramivir
    Adult
    Children
    Baloxivir
    Adult
    Children

INTRODUCTION

Influenza causes significant morbidity and mortality, particularly among young children and the elderly. Seasonal influenza epidemics result in 25 to 30 ...

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