DATE: November 8, 2018
TIME: 9:00AM PST
Annual epidemics of influenza place a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States. CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010.
The cornerstone of influenza prevention is routine annual influenza vaccination, which is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months who do not have contraindications. Multiple different vaccine types are available, including inactivated, live attenuated, and recombinant vaccines, as well as high dose and adjuvanted inactivated versions.
The majority of currently circulating influenza viruses are susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications—oseltamivir, zanamivir and peramivir. Antiviral treatment with a neuraminidase inhibitor is recommended as early as possible for patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness; who require hospitalization; or who are at increased risk for influenza-related complications.
Appropriate treatment of patients with influenza depends on accurate and timely diagnosis, and early diagnosis can reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics and provide the option of using antiviral therapy. Diagnostic tests available for influenza include viral culture, serology, rapid antigen testing, reverse transcription PCR, immunofluorescence assays, and rapid molecular assays. Molecular assays are increasingly becoming the diagnostic tests of choice.