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CDC reports influenza season is putting seniors at risk
e-Reports, Feb. 4, 2013
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The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that hospitalizations among seniors have sharply increased due to influenza-like illness. About 50 percent of those hospitalized have been persons age 65 and older.

As of Jan. 12, the CDC reported that the influenza-associated hospitalization rate for persons 65 and older was 82 per 100,000, an increase from 69.8 per 100,000 during the prior week.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), there have been 43 flu-related deaths in Indiana, which include:

  • 35 deaths in persons age 65 and older
  • 2 deaths in children younger than 18 years old
  • 6 deaths in adults between ages 18-64

The CDC urges you to continue vaccinating patients but cautions that elderly patients may not respond as well to the vaccination as younger patients.

2012/2013 deaths assciated with
lab-confirmed influenza, by age - Indiana,
Jan. 30, 2013
Flu chart
Source: Indiana State Department of Health

“Vaccination of caretakers and close contacts of seniors is especially important,” noted the CDC. “Additionally, as some vaccinated persons will develop influenza, providers also are reminded of the CDC’s recommendations for the use of antiviral medications for treatment during the current season.”

The CDC reminds you to encourage patients to seek immediate treatment if they show signs of the flu. Early antiviral treatment also is recommended for all persons having suspected influenza with severe or progressive illness. Treatment should begin within 48 hours after the first signs of illness.

“The decision to initiate antiviral treatment should be made regardless of vaccination status, should not wait for laboratory confirmation of influenza and should not be dependent on insensitive assays, such as rapid influenza diagnostic tests” said the CDC.

Find the ISDH updated weekly flu report at in.gov.

Read additional guidance for managing geriatric patients and the flu here.

Copyright: Information written and displayed on www.ismanet.org is the property of ISMA and may not be reproduced without expressed written permission of the Indiana State Medical Association.

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