CDC Issues Health Alert Network Advisory on Flu

On March 28, the CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) released Influenza Season Continues with an Increase in Influenza A(H3N2) Activity. The “Summary” section and the beginning of the “Recommendations” section are reprinted below.

Summary

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this health advisory to notify clinicians that influenza activity remains high in the United States, with an increasing proportion of activity due to influenza A(H3N2) viruses, continued circulation of influenza A(H1N1) viruses, and low levels of influenza B viruses. Influenza should be considered as a possible diagnosis for patients with respiratory illness while local influenza activity remains elevated. Because influenza A(H3N2) viruses may be associated with severe disease in older adults, this health advisory serves as a reminder that early empiric treatment with influenza antiviral medications is recommended for hospitalized and high-risk patients, especially those 65 years and older. Antiviral treatment should be started as soon as possible after illness onset and should not wait for laboratory confirmation.

The Health Alert Advisory provides detailed recommendations under the following headings:

  1. All Hospitalized, Severely Ill, and High-Risk Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Influenza Should Be Treated with Antivirals
  2. Antivirals in Non-High-Risk Patients with Uncomplicated Influenza 
  3. Choice of Antiviral Medication
  4. Timing of Treatment and Implications for Patient Evaluation, Treatment, and Testing 

Access the complete HAN for more background information and detailed guidance for health departments and healthcare providers: Influenza Season Continues with an Increase in Influenza A(H3N2) Activity.