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Antiviral prophylaxis is recommended for the control of institutional influenza A outbreaks. In long-term–care institutions other than nursing homes, neither the seriousness of influenza nor the risks and benefits of antiviral prophylaxis is clearly understood. We studied the severity of illness due to influenza among adults residing in a center for the developmentally disabled and assessed adverse reactions to amantadine and oseltamivir prophylaxis.
Data were collected from the charts of consenting residents. Complications of upper respiratory tract illness were recorded. Potential adverse events were documented during amantadine and oseltamivir therapy, and during a baseline period with neither medication.
The median age of the 287 participants was 46.4 years. Only 15 (5%) were older than 65 years, and 69 (24%) had chronic underlying medical illness placing them at high risk for influenza. Of the 122 residents with an upper respiratory tract infection, 16 (13%) developed pneumonia, 12 (9.8%) were hospitalized, and 5 (4%) died. Twenty-eight (25%) of 112 residents had an adverse neurologic event while receiving amantadine prophylaxis, compared with 3 (2.7%) receiving no antiviral medication and 5 (4.5%) receiving oseltamivir (P < .001). Sixteen percent of the residents discontinued amantadine due to adverse events; in contrast, adverse events were identified in 2.9% of the residents prescribed oseltamivir, and none discontinued therapy.
Viral respiratory tract infections are associated with a high risk of complications in this population. The rate of adverse neurologic events associated with amantadine was significantly higher than that associated with oseltamivir.
To estimate the frequency of, and assess risk factors for, percutaneous, mucous membrane, and cutaneous blood contacts sustained by healthcare workers (HCWs) during the delivery of infusion therapy and the performance of procedures involving sharp instruments in the home setting.
Prospective surveillance of percutaneous, mucous membrane, and cutaneous blood contacts.
Eleven home healthcare agencies in the United States and Canada from August 1996 through June 1997.
HCWs who provided home infusion therapy or performed procedures using hollow-bore needles and other sharp instruments in the home setting.
Each participating worker recorded information about the procedures performed and blood contacts experienced during each of his or her home visits for a 2- to 4-week period using standard questionnaires. HCWs also completed questionnaires regarding job duties, reporting of previous occupational blood contacts, and their use of protective barriers in the home setting.
Participating HCWs provided information about 33,606 home visits. A total of 19,164 procedures were performed during 14,744 procedure visits. Fifty-three blood contacts occurred during these visits, for a blood-contact rate of 2.8 blood contacts per 1,000 procedures and 0.6 percutaneous injuries per 1,000 procedures with needles or lancets. Gloves were worn for 52%, masks for 5%, gowns for 3%, and protective glasses or goggles for 2% of all procedure visits. HCWs used barriers for 53% of visits during which at least 1 procedure was performed and for 27% of other visits.
HCWs involved in home health care are at risk for blood contact. Infection control barrier use was low in our study. The majority of skin contacts could have been prevented by glove use.
To describe the use of zanamivir during an influenza A outbreak.
Residents of a 176-bed long-term-care facility for the elderly in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, 90% of whom received influenza vaccine in the fall of 1998.
When respiratory illness due to influenza A was confirmed, infection control measures and amantadine prophylaxis were initiated. Despite these measures, transmission of influenza A continued.
Zanamivir inhalations, 10 mg daily for prophylaxis and 10 mg twice daily for treatment of influenza.
There were 13 definite and 66 probable outbreak-associated cases of influenza A. Twelve (15%) cases developed pneumonia, 7 (9%) were hospitalized, and 2 (2.6%) died. All 12 culture-positive cases yielded influenza A/Sydney/H3N2/05/97-like virus, a 1998/99 vaccine component. The three isolates obtained prior to the initiation of amantadine were amantadine-susceptible; all nine obtained after prophylaxis was instituted were amantadine-resistant. One hundred twenty-nine (92%) of 140 residents who were offered zanamivir accepted it and were able to attempt inhalations. Of these 129, 78% (100) had no difficulty in complying with inhalations. Difficulty with inhalations was associated with decreased functional and mental status. Fifteen (58%) of 26 residents fully dependent in activities of daily living had difficulty compared to 14 (14%) of 100 others (P<.001). Twenty-two (45%) of 49 residents not oriented to person, place, or time had difficulty compared to 7 (10%) of 77 others (P<001). In the 2 weeks after zanamivir prophylaxis, only 2 new cases of respiratory illness occurred, neither confirmed as influenza. No side effects were identified in 128 zanamivir-treated residents.
A minority of nursing home residents have difficulty following instructions for zanamivir inhalations. Zanamivir was well tolerated, and its use was temporally associated with termination of an outbreak that amantadine had failed to control.
To determine which influenza vaccination program characteristics were associated with high resident vaccination rates in Canadian long-term–care facilities (LTCFs).
A cross-sectional survey consisting of a mailed questionnaire conducted in spring 1991.
All 1,520 Canadian LTCFs for the elderly with at least 25 beds.
The mean overall influenza vaccination rate in the 1,270 (84%) responding facilities was 79%. In multivariate analysis, the variables significantly associated with increased vaccination rates were: a single nonphysician staff person organizing the program, having more program aspects covered by written policies, the offering of vaccine to all residents, a policy of obtaining consent on admission that was durable for future years rather than repeating consent annually, and automatically administering vaccine to residents whose guardians could not be contacted for consent. Any encouragement to staff to be vaccinated had a significant impact on staff vaccination rates.
Well-organized influenza vaccination programs increase the influenza vaccination rates of residents in Canadian LTCFs. Facilities need to develop resident vaccination programs further and to focus on vaccinating staff.
To describe the investigation and control of transmission of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in a residential long-term-care (LTC) setting.
A strain of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium not previously isolated in Ontario colonized five residents of a 254-bed LTC facility in Toronto. The index case was identified when VRE was isolated from a urine culture taken after admission to a local hospital. Screening of rectal swabs from all 235 residents identified four others who were colonized with the same strain of E faecium.
Colonized residents were cohorted. VRE precautions were established as follows: gown and gloves for resident contact, restriction of contact between colonized and noncolonized residents, no sharing of personal equipment, and daily double-cleaning of residents' rooms and wheelchairs.
Two colonized residents died of causes unrelated to VRE. Although bacitracin therapy (75,000 units four times a day X 14 days) failed to eradicate carriage in two of three surviving residents, both cleared their carriage within 7 weeks. Repeat rectal swabs from 224 residents (91%) 2 months after isolation precautions were discontinued and from 125 residents (51%) 9 months later identified no new cases. Total cost of investigation and control was $12,061 (Canadian).
VRE may be transmitted in LTC facilities, and colonized LTC residents could become important VRE reservoirs. Control of VRE transmission in LTC facilities can be achieved even with limited resources.
To identify the tuberculosis (TB) skin-testing practices of long-term care facilities for the elderly in Toronto, Ontario.
A telephone survey using a 25-item questionnaire.
Twenty-nine nursing homes (NHs) and 26 Homes for the Aged (HFAs) in metropolitan Toronto.
Thirty-one percent of facilities (17 of 55) had no formal tuberculin skin-testing program, including 52% of NHs (15 of 29) versus 8% of HFAs (2 of 26; P= 0.001). Ninety-two percent of HFAs (24 of 26) compared with 45% of NHs (13 of 29), obtained preadmission or admission skin-test status of residents (P= 0.0005). Annual testing was performed at 46% of HFAs (12 of 26) and 27% of NHs (8 of 29; P= 0.28). Of facilities that carried out any skin testing, 64% of HFAs (16 of 25) versus 32% of NHs (6 of 19) measured induration to establish test positivity (P=0.068). Fifty-two percent of HFAs (13 of 25), compared with 21% of NHs (4 of 19), recorded the actual size of induration in the patient record (P=0.085). Only 28% of HFAs (7 of 25) and 21% of NHs (4 of 19) correctly defined a positive tuberculin skin test.
TB surveillance practices in long-term care institutions in Toronto are inadequate and often yield results that do not predict the risk of infection and cannot be used to investigate outbreaks. Tuberculin skin-testing practices were better at HFAs, which are subject to provincial legislation regarding TB surveillance, than at NHs, which are not subject to this legislation. Staff at HFAs and NHs require education regarding tuberculin skin-testing policies and procedures.
1) To compare policies and procedures for distribution of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines to long-term care facilities for the elderly in Canada, 2) to determine vaccination rates of residents and staff, and 3) to describe vaccination and tuberculin skin testing programs in these facilities.
A cross-sectional survey consisting of telephone interviews and a mailed questionnaire was conducted in the spring of 1991. Telephone interviews were conducted with provincial/territorial epidemiologists. The questionnaire was sent to all (N = 1,520) Canadian long-term care facilities for the elderly with ≥ 25 beds.
There were 1,270 responding facilities (84%). The mean overall influenza vaccination rate for residents was 78.5%. The mean vaccination rate was higher in those provinces in which the vaccine was paid for by the government (79% versus 71%; P= 0.002). Only 19% of facilities reported staff vaccination rates >25%; rates again were higher in those provinces in which vaccine for staff was provided by the government. Pneumococcal vaccine was offered to residents in 12% of the facilities. The proportions of facilities with >10% and >75% of residents vaccinated were significantly higher in the provinces where the pneumococcal vaccine was recommended and paid for as compared with those where it was not (P<0.001 for both). Tuberculin skin testing programs for residents existed in 360 long-term care facilities (28%) across the country.
In 1990, the number of residents living in Canadian long-term care facilities who were vaccinated against influenza and Streptococcus pneumoniae was suboptimal. Staff influenza vaccination rates were very low across the country. Most facilities did not have a baseline tuberculin skin test status for their residents. Vaccination rates are higher in jurisdictions in which governments provide the vaccine without charge.