City Health Information
Volume 32 (2013) New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene No. 3; 11-18
 

IN THIS ISSUE

 

Influenza Prevention and Control, 2013-2014
  • Vaccinate everyone aged 6 months and older against influenza as early as possible.
  • Give inactivated vaccine to all pregnant women in any trimester.
  • Get your flu vaccination as soon as vaccine becomes available and ensure that your staff does the same.
Image of pregnant woman getting flu shot

Influenza is a highly infectious viral illness that can cause severe disease or death, especially in young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions or immunocompromising disorders. Vaccination is the most effective means of preventing influenza and its potentially severe complications, including pneumococcal disease (1,2).

Both the timing of the seasonal influenza cycle and the severity of illness are unpredictable. Influenza activity begins as early as October and may continue through May or even beyond (3). The 2012-2013 season was moderately severe nationwide, and had an earlier onset than in recent years, with influenza activity increasing in late November and peaking in January (3). Type A (H3N2) virus, generally associated with more severe influenza, predominated until mid-February 2013; after this, B viruses were predominant (4).

Routinely vaccinate everyone aged 6 months and older against influenza each year, especially those in groups listed in Box 1 and people with conditions listed in Box 2. Vaccination of school-age children and health care workers helps reduce community and nosocomial transmission of infection, respectively. Ensure that you and your staff are vaccinated against influenza. Pregnant women are another group at risk for severe disease and should be vaccinated in any trimester with inactivated vaccine (2,5).

This season, new influenza vaccines are available, including those that may offer broader coverage against additional strains of influenza and those for use in patients with allergy to egg protein. Begin to vaccinate as soon as vaccine becomes available and continue until vaccine expires (2).

BOX 1. IMPORTANT GROUPS FOR INFLUENZA VACCINATION (1,2)
  • Children aged 6 through 59 months, especially those <2 years
  • People aged ≥50 years, especially those ≥65 years
  • People with certain high-risk medical conditions (Box 2)
  • Women who are pregnant or plan to be pregnant
  • Health care workers
  • Residents of long-term care facilities (aged ≥6 months)
  • American Indians/Alaskan Natives
  • People with body mass index ≥40 kg/m2
  • Household contacts and caregivers of
    • Children aged <5 years, especially those <6 months
    • Adults aged ≥50 years, especially those ≥65 years
    • People with certain medical conditions (Box 2)

PDF version of Box 1

BOX 2. MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT INCREASE RISK FOR SEVERE INFLUENZA COMPLICATIONS (2)
  • Chronic pulmonary disorders (including asthma)
  • Cardiovascular diseases (except hypertension)
  • Renal, hepatic, neurologic/
    neurodevelopmental, hematologic, metabolic, or endocrine disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
  • Weakened immune system due to disease such as HIV/AIDS, medications such as chronic steroids, or cancer treatment (ie, radiation or chemotherapy)
  • Long-term aspirin therapy in children and adolescents <19 years of age because of risk for Reye syndrome after influenza infection

PDF version of Box 2

Continue to INFLUENZA IN CHILDREN on the next page >