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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Summer Gives No Relief From Swine Flu

CDC Says Northeastern States Have the Most Cases of H1N1 Swine Flu

Swine Flu Among Health Care Providers continued...

The report, which describes swine flu cases among health care workers through May 13, includes detailed information for about 26 patients. None of the patients with the H1N1 swine flu virus died or required intensive care during hospitalization, Bell said. Half of them had exposure within the general community or from unknown causes, and the remaining half probably contracted the disease within the health care setting.

According to the report, "most of the probable or possible patient-to-[health care provider] transmissions ... occurred in situations where the use of [personal protective equipment] was not in accordance with CDC recommendations."

Bell pointed out that they are beginning to see a pattern of transmission between health care workers in some of these additional clusters, "which is also concerning because it gets to the issue of people showing up for work sick." He added that health care workers should stay home if they are sick and that health care facilities need to have appropriate sick leave policies.

The report does note that health care personnel do not appear to be "overrepresented among reported cases of persons infected with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus in the United States."

There is no routine recommendation for health care workers to receive antiviral medication, Bell said. "Probably the most important thing is that infectious patients be identified at the front door."

Current recommendations to prevent the spread of swine flu include using a single patient room for infected individuals and having infectious patients cover their cough. Health care personnel are advised to use respirators, gloves, gowns, and eye protection while they are in patients' rooms. In addition, careful attention to hand hygiene is also recommended.

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