For Clinicians

healthcare providers with masks

Flu Season 2013-2014

The 2013-2014 flu season surveillance started on September 29, 2013 and goes to May 17, 2014, with the most active months typically beginning in December and ending in March. The dominant strain so far during the 2013-2014 flu season is influenza 2009 A H1N1, the same strain that caused the 2009 epidemic. This season’s trivalent vaccine covers 2009 A H1N1 and H3N2, as well as one influenza B strain.

Influenza 2009 A H1N1 seems to affect adults between the ages of 18-64 more frequently than other strains have. However, those at highest risk for severe outcomes are children under 2 years of age and adults 65 years of age and older, and those persons who have conditions that make them more susceptible to severe illness, including immune suppression, pregnancy or recent delivery, chronic respiratory disease, metabolic disorders, obesity, and cardiopulmonary disease.

Prevention

It is not too late to vaccinate! There is still vaccine available. Encourage patients to get their flu vaccine if they are still unvaccinated for this flu season.  Refer to Vaccine Information for additional information on vaccine composition, dosing, storing, and administration.

Treatment

Early antiviral treatment is recommended for any person who has severe illness, is at high risk for severe illness or complication, or is hospitalized for influenza. It is ideal to start treatment with oseltamivir or zanimivir within 48 hours of onset, but may still be of benefit up to 4 to 5 days after onset. If you suspect influenza in a patient, don’t wait for lab results to begin treatment.

For more information refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- Influenza Antiviral Medications Information for Clinicians

Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Pregnant and postpartum women are at high risk for serious complications from influenza virus, particularly the 2009 A H1N1 strain. Health care providers should encourage all pregnant and postpartum women to get vaccinated.  Antivirals are recommended for treating ILI in pregnant women. For additional information refer to the CDC Public Health Service Announcement on Protecting Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Laboratory Specimens

When submitting individual specimens for influenza testing to the Alameda county public health lab, please use this form:Influenza Viral Test Panel Including Novel Strains: Submission Form

healthcare worker vaccination

Infection Control

Clinics:  Please provide masks and hand sanitizer for patients with suspected influenza and ask them to mask before sitting in waiting rooms.

Inpatient:  Standard and droplet precautions should be implemented for patients with suspected or confirmed influenza, including placement in a private room and placing a surgical mask on patients if they must be transported to other areas of the facility.

Mandatory Influenza Vaccination or Masking of Health Care Workers During Influenza Season

The Health Officers from Alameda County and City of Berkeley have updated their joint order mandating that all licensed health care facilities in Alameda County and City of Berkeley require their health care workers (HCWs) to receive an annual influenza vaccination or, if they decline, to wear a mask during the influenza season while working in patient care areas.

In order to determine whether health care worker (HCW) influenza vaccination rates changed after the joint Local Health Officer HCW influenza vaccination order was first issued in October 2012, Alameda County Public Health Department conducted a mixed methods evaluation of influenza vaccination coverage in acute care inpatient facilities in Alameda County (including the City of Berkeley) during the 2011-2012 influenza season and the subsequent 2012-2013 influenza season. The median HCW influenza vaccination rate at acute care inpatient facilities increased from 74% to 93%, and the total HCW influenza vaccination rate increased from 72% to 86%.  Refer to Preliminary Findings Health Care Worker Flu Vaccine Coverage for a summary of preliminary findings.

Additional Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- Information for Clinicians

Terms of Use  |  Privacy