The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing a 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. CDC recommends antiviral medication for the treatment of influenza, regardless of a patient’s influenza vaccination status. Influenza antiviral medications are most effective in treating influenza and reducing complications when treatment is started early (within 48 hours of illness onset). However, some studies suggest clinical benefit among hospitalized patients and young children with febrile illness even when treatment starts three to five days after illness onset.
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Health Alert: Immediate action needed
Health Update: Updated information on Alert or Advisory
Health Advisory: May require immediate action
Info Service: Not of an emergent nature