Prophylaxis of healthcare workers in an influenza pandemic

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TypeBook Chapter
Book titleHandbook of disease burdens and quality of life measures
Pages14191431; # of pages: 13
AbstractThe threat of an imminent influenza pandemic has galvanized global efforts to identify effective preparedness strategies and consider securing health resources. As the nations prepare to meet this threat, public health interventions are being carefully gauged within the context of influenza epidemiology, populations, and healthcare systems. A pandemic will place enormous demands on healthcare systems that include at the center of planning efforts the protection of healthcare workers. During an influenza pandemic, healthcare workers will be on the front lines delivering care to patients and preventing further spread of the disease. Protecting these workers from acquiring or transmitting infection in the hospital ward and outside the workplace is critical to containing a pandemic and limiting morbidity and mortality of the population. Several approaches to protecting healthcare workers include vaccination, antiviral prophylaxis, use of personal protective equipment, and adherence to other infection control practices. In the absence of vaccination, application of antiviral drugs has been rationalized as the first-line defense against the pandemic strain. While the treatment of ill individuals is top priority in most national contingency plans, the use of drugs as prophylaxis has been debatable. This chapter attempts to highlight the importance of a competent healthcare system in response to an influenza pandemic, and presents the conflicting issues that are surrounding an antiviral prophylaxis strategy. An overview of potential benefits and limitations, logistical constraints, and clinical and epidemiological consequences of healthcare worker prophylaxis is also provided.
Publication date
PublisherSpringer New York
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number2417
NPARC number9724444
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Record identifier25489012-e339-4509-97d6-9fba7c3848bd
Record created2009-07-17
Record modified2016-05-09
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