Health Alert Network (HAN)
Health Alert Network (HAN)
Hurricane Laura-Clinical Guidance for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 435
Thu, 27 Aug 2020 15:30:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding clinicians seeing patients from the areas affected by Hurricane Laura to maintain a high index of suspicion for CO poisoning. Other people who may be exposed to the same CO source may need to be identified and assessed.
Serious Adverse Health Events Associated with Methanol-based Hand Sanitizers - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 434
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 19:15:00 EST
Most commercially available alcohol-based hand sanitizers or rubs (ABHSR) contain either ethanol or isopropanol as active ingredients. On June 19, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers not to use any hand sanitizer manufactured by "Eskbiochem SA de CV" in Mexico, due to the potential presence of methanol, a "toxic alcohol", as an active ingredient, which can cause blindness and/or death when absorbed through the skin or when swallowed. Since then, FDA has identified additional ABHSR products that contain methanol and is working with manufacturers and distributors on a voluntary recall of these products (https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitzers-methanolexternal icon).
Detection of Ciprofloxacin-resistant, β-lactamase-producing Neisseria meningitidis Serogroup Y Isolates, United States, 2019-2020 - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 433
Thu, 18 Jun 2020 13:30:00 EST
Meningococcal disease, which typically presents as meningitis or meningococcemia, is a life-threatening illness requiring prompt antibiotic treatment for patients and antibiotic prophylaxis for their close contacts. Neisseria meningitidis isolates in the United States have been largely susceptible to the antibiotics recommended for treatment and prophylaxis. However, 11 meningococcal disease cases reported in the United States during 2019-2020 had isolates containing a blaROB-1 β-lactamase gene associated with penicillin resistance, as well as mutations associated with ciprofloxacin resistance. An additional 22 cases reported during 2013-2020 contained a blaROB-1 β-lactamasegene but did not have mutations associated with ciprofloxacin resistance.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 432
Thu, 14 May 2020 16:45:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing 1) background information on several cases of a recently reported multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); and 2) a case definition for this syndrome. CDC recommends healthcare providers report any patient who meets the case definition to local, state, and territorial health departments to enhance knowledge of risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment of this syndrome.
Severe Illness Associated with Using Non-Pharmaceutical Chloroquine Phosphate to Prevent and Treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 431
Sat, 28 Mar 2020 11:00:00 EST
Chloroquine phosphate, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death. Clinicians and public health officials should discourage the public from misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate (a chemical used in home aquariums). Clinicians should advise patients and the public that chloroquine, and the related compound hydroxychloroquine, should be used only under the supervision of a healthcare provider as prescribed medications.
Information and Guidance about Global Travel on Cruise Ships, Including River Cruises, due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 430
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 17:45:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all persons defer any travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide because of the increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission onboard ships. Deferring travel is especially important for older adults and all people with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease), because of their increased risk for severe disease. This health update provides information to clinicians and state and local health departments about the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation and the risks associated with travel on cruise ships, including river cruises.
Updated Guidance on Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 429
Sun, 08 Mar 2020 20:15:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.This CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Update highlights guidance and recommendations for evaluating and identifying patients who should be tested for COVID-19 that were shared on March 4, 2020, on the CDC COVID-19 website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html. It supersedes the guidance and recommendations provided in CDC's HAN 428 distributed on February 28, 2020.
Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 428
Fri, 28 Feb 2020 15:00:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.This CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Update provides updated guidance on evaluating and testing persons under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19. It supersedes guidance provided in CDC's HAN 427 distributed on February 1, 2020.
Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 427
Sat, 01 Feb 2020 09:00:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was initially detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019.This CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Update provides a situational update and interim guidance to state and local health departments that supersedes guidance in CDC's HAN 426 distributed on January 17, 2020.
Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 426
Fri, 17 Jan 2020 20:30:00 EDT
SummaryThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor an outbreak of a 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China that began in December 2019. CDC has established an Incident Management System to coordinate a domestic and international public health response.
Elevated Influenza Activity: Influenza B/Victoria and A(H1N1)pdm09 Viruses are the Predominant Viruses - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 425
Fri, 10 Jan 2020 11:40:00 EDT
This health advisory notifies clinicians that influenza activity remains high in the United States. Ongoing elevated activity is due to influenza B/Victoria viruses, increasing circulation of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses, and low levels of influenza B/Yamagata and influenza A(H3N2) viruses. CDC's influenza forecasts suggest that national influenza activity will remain elevated for several more weeks. Because influenza activity is elevated and both influenza A and B virus infections can cause severe disease and death, this health advisory also serves as a reminder that early treatment with antiviral medications improves outcomes in patients with influenza. Early treatment with antiviral medications is recommended for hospitalized patients and high-risk outpatients, including children younger than two years. Clinicians should continue efforts to vaccinate patients for as long as influenza viruses are circulating, and promptly start antiviral treatment of severely ill and high-risk patients with suspected influenza without waiting for laboratory confirmation.
Outbreak of Pneumonia of Unknown Etiology (PUE) in Wuhan, China - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 424
Wed, 08 Jan 2020 17:55:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring a reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology (PUE) with possible epidemiologic links to a large wholesale fish and live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. An outbreak investigation by local officials is ongoing in China; the World Health Organization (WHO) is the lead international public health agency. Currently, there are no known U.S. cases nor have cases been reported in countries other than China. CDC has established an Incident Management Structure to optimize domestic and international coordination if additional public health actions are required.This HAN Advisory informs state and local health departments and health care providers about this outbreak and requests that health care providers ask patients with severe respiratory disease about travel history to Wuhan City. Wuhan City is a major transportation hub about 700 miles south of Beijing with a population of more than 11 million people.
Guidance for Using Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Ebola in the United States - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 423
Mon, 16 Dec 2019 14:00:00 EDT
In October 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed marketing of the OraQuick® Ebola Rapid Antigen Test, a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for detecting Ebola virus in both symptomatic patients and recently deceased people. This is the first Ebola RDT that FDA has allowed for marketing in the United States. The RDT should be used only in cases where more sensitive molecular testing is not available. All OraQuick® Ebola Rapid Antigen Test results are presumptive; all test results (positive and negative) must be verified through real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) testing at a Laboratory Response Network (LRN) laboratory located in 49 states and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Interpretation of RDT results should be done with caution and in consultation with relevant public health authorities to ensure appropriate testing and interpretation of results. RDT results should not be used to rule out Ebola infection or to determine the use or type of infection prevention and control precautions when managing a patient with Ebola compatible symptoms and epidemiologic risk factors. Healthcare providers with a patient with possible Ebola virus infection should first contact their local or state public health authorities before any testing is performed. CDC is available to provide consultation, technical assistance, and confirmatory testing as necessary.
Hot Tub Displays and Legionella Risk-Guidance for Environmental and Public Health Practitioners - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 422
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 14:30:00 EDT
Hot tub displays at temporary events may pose a risk for Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia caused by inhaling mist containing Legionella bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is alerting environmental and public health practitioners about the public health need to maintain, clean and disinfect hot tubs properly to reduce potential exposure to Legionella. This Health Advisory provides guidance for environmental and public health practitioners to minimize risk for Legionella exposure from hot tub displays at temporary events (e.g., fairs, home and garden shows, conventions). Environmental health practitioners should work with event planners and hot tub vendors to minimize the risk of Legionella exposure even if the hot tub is only for display.
Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Using E-Cigarette Products - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 421
Fri, 30 Aug 2019 09:35:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing: 1) background information on the forms of e-cigarette products, 2) information on the multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with using e-cigarette products (devices, liquids, refill pods, and cartridges), and 3) clinical features of patients with severe pulmonary disease. This health advisory also provides recommendations for clinicians, public health officials, and the public based on currently available information.
Nationwide Shortage of Tuberculin Skin Test Antigens: CDC Recommendations for Patient Care and Public Health Practice - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 420
Thu, 06 Jun 2019 11:30:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expecting a 3 to 10 month nationwide shortage of APLISOL®, a product of Par Pharmaceuticals. APLISOL® is one of two purified-protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin antigens that are licensed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in performing tuberculin skin tests. The manufacturer notified CDC that they anticipate a supply interruption of APLISOL® 5 mL (50 tests) beginning in June 2019, followed by a supply interruption of APLISOL® 1 mL (10 tests) in November 2019. The expected shortage of APLISOL® 1 mL (10 tests) could occur before November 2019, if demand increases before then. The 3-10 month timeframe for the nationwide shortage is the manufacturer's current estimate and is subject to change.
Influenza Season Continues with an Increase in Influenza A(H3N2) Activity - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 419
Thu, 28 Mar 2019 14:15:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this 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.
Update: Widespread Outbreaks of Hepatitis A among People Who Use Drugs and People Experiencing Homelessness across the United States - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 418
Mon, 25 Mar 2019 13:30:00 EST
Multiple states across the country have reported outbreaks of hepatitis A, primarily among people who use drugs and people experiencing homelessness. Since the hepatitis A outbreaks were first identified in 2016, more than 15,000 cases, 8,500 (57%) hospitalizations, and 140 deaths as a result of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection have been reported. This Health Alert Network (HAN) update recommends that public health departments, healthcare facilities, and partners and programs providing services to affected populations vaccinate at-risk groups against hepatitis A, applying the updated recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).This is an update to the Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory released on June 11, 2018 titled Outbreak of Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Infections among Persons Who Use Drugs and Persons Experiencing Homelessness (https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00412.asp).
Third Case of Rifampin/Penicillin-Resistant Strain of RB51 Brucella from Consuming Raw Milk - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 417
Wed, 23 Jan 2019 15:30:00 EDT
The New York State Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Health are investigating Brucella RB51 exposures that may be connected to consuming raw (unpasteurized) milk from Miller's Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, Pennsylvania. Symptoms of brucellosis can include fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and potentially more serious complications (e.g., endocarditis, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, and neurologic symptoms). In pregnant patients, Brucella infections can be associated with miscarriage. Symptom onset can occur anywhere from five days to six months following exposure. As of January 22, 2019, exposures have been identified in 19 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Update-Outbreak of Life-threatening Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoids Use - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 416
Mon, 10 Dec 2018 13:00:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing information on: 1) the current status of a multistate outbreak of coagulopathy from exposure to synthetic cannabinoid products containing a vitamin K-epoxide cycle antagonist, brodifacoum; 2) the emergence of 2 new clinical scenarios; and 3) recommendations to help clinicians make decisions related to these 2 new clinical scenarios.This is an update to the Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory released on May 25, 2018 titled Outbreak of Life-threatening Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoids Use (https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00410.asp).
Hurricane Florence-Clinical Guidance For Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 415
Sun, 16 Sep 2018 13:45:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding clinicians seeing patients from the areas affected by Hurricane Florence to maintain a high index of suspicion for CO poisoning. Other people who may be exposed to the same CO source may need to be identified and assessed.The signs and symptoms of CO exposure are variable and nonspecific. A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild CO poisoning. Other symptoms may include dizziness, flu-like symptoms without a fever, drowsiness, chest pain, and altered mental status.Clinical manifestations of severe CO poisoning include tachycardia, tachypnea, hypotension, metabolic acidosis, dysrhythmias, myocardial ischemia or infarction, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, neurologic findings including irritability, impaired memory, cognitive and sensory disturbances, ataxia, altered or loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death, although any organ system might be involved.Although CO poisoning can be fatal to anyone, children, pregnant women, the unborn, persons with sickle cell disease, older adults, and persons with chronic illness (e.g., heart or lung disease) are particularly vulnerable.
Advice to Clinicians about Leptospirosis in U.S. Travelers Returning from Northern Israel - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 414
Fri, 07 Sep 2018 13:45:00 EST
The Israeli Ministry of Health is reporting an outbreak of leptospirosis in persons with exposure to natural water sources in the Golan Heights region of northern Israel after July 1, 2018. As of September 6, 2018, three persons with leptospirosis who traveled to Israel have been identified in the United States, with additional suspected cases reported and under investigation. Early symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, conjunctival suffusion (conjunctival redness without exudates), jaundice, and sometimes a rash. Clinicians should consider leptospirosis as a diagnosis in any patient who develops an acute febrile illness within 4 weeks of travel to one of the areas in northern Israel listed below since July 1, 2018.
Rising Numbers of Deaths Involving Fentanyl and Fentanyl Analogs, Including Carfentanil, and Increased Usage and Mixing with Non-opioids - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 413
Wed, 11 Jul 2018 12:00:00 EST
This Health Alert Network (HAN) Update is to alert public health departments, health care professionals, first responders, and medical examiners and coroners to important new developments in the evolving opioid overdose epidemic, which increasingly involves illicitly manufactured fentanyl and an array of potent fentanyl analogs (i.e., compounds that are chemically related to fentanyl). It is the second update to the original health advisory, HAN 384, issued October 26, 2015, which alerted the public to the increase in unintentional overdose fatalities involving fentanyl in multiple states, primarily driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The first update to this health advisory was released on August 25, 2016 (HAN 395), describing the sharp increase in the availability of counterfeit pills containing varying amounts of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, the continued increase of overdose deaths involving fentanyl across a growing number of states, and the widening array of fentanyl analogs being mixed with heroin or sold as heroin.The current update includes information on: (1) the continued increase in the supply of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs detected by law enforcement; (2) the sharp rise in overdose deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in a growing number of states, in particular the growing number of deaths involving the ultra-high potency fentanyl analog known as carfentanil; (3) the expanding number of poly-drug combinations implicated in opioid overdose deaths, which include non-opioids, such as cocaine; (4) the updated comprehensive guidance available to law enforcement and other emergency responders to prevent occupational exposure to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs; and (5) updated recommendations for public health professionals and health care providers regarding prevention and response efforts.
Outbreak of Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Infections among Persons Who Use Drugs and Persons Experiencing Homelessness - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 412
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 08:00:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments are investigating hepatitis A outbreaks in multiple states among persons reporting drug use and/or homelessness and their contacts. This Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisory alerts public health departments, healthcare facilities, and programs providing services to affected populations about these outbreaks of hepatitis A infections and provides guidance to assist in identifying and preventing new infections.
Update - CDC Recommendations for Managing and Reporting Shigella Infections with Possible Reduced Susceptibility to Ciprofloxacin - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 411
Thu, 07 Jun 2018 07:00:00 EST
This Health Alert Network (HAN) Update provides current recommendations on management and reporting of Shigella infections that have been treated with ciprofloxacin or azithromycin and resulted in possible clinical treatment failure. This is a follow-up to HAN 401: CDC Recommendations for Diagnosing and Managing Shigella Strains with Possible Reduced Susceptibility to Ciprofloxacin (https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00401.asp).
Outbreak of Life-threatening Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoids Use - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 410
Fri, 25 May 2018 11:30:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing information on: 1) the current status of a multistate outbreak of coagulopathy from exposure to synthetic cannabinoid products containing a vitamin K-dependent antagonist agent, such as brodifacoum; 2) signs and symptoms of presenting patients from this outbreak and which patients are at risk; 3) laboratory testing options that are available to help identify and classify cases; 4) available resources that may help clinicians make decisions; and 5) to whom to report possible cases.
Seasonal Influenza A(H3N2) Activity and Antiviral Treatment of Patients with Influenza - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 409
Wed, 27 Dec 2017 05:30:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing: 1) a notice about increased influenza A(H3N2) activity and its clinical implications; 2) a summary of influenza antiviral drug treatment recommendations; 3) an update about approved treatment drugs and supply this season; and 4) background information for patients about influenza treatment.
Advice for Providers Treating Patients in or Recently Returned from Hurricane-Affected Areas, Including Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 408
Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:30:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with federal, state, territorial, and local agencies and global health partners in response to recent hurricanes. CDC is aware of media reports and anecdotal accounts of various infectious diseases in hurricane-affected areas, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (USVI). Because of compromised drinking water and decreased access to safe water, food, and shelter, the conditions for outbreaks of infectious diseases exist.The purpose of this HAN advisory is to remind clinicians assessing patients currently in or recently returned from hurricane-affected areas to be vigilant in looking for certain infectious diseases, including leptospirosis, dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, vibriosis, and influenza. Additionally, this Advisory provides guidance to state and territorial health departments on enhanced disease reporting.
Rifampin/Penicillin-Resistant Strain of RB51 Brucella Contracted from Consumption of Raw Milk - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 407
Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:30:00 EST
The Texas Department of State Health Services, with assistance from CDC, is investigating Brucella RB51 exposures and illnesses that may be connected to the purchase and consumption of raw (unpasteurized) milk from K-Bar Dairy in Paradise, Texas. Symptoms of brucellosis can include: fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache, fatigue, muscle & joint pain, and potentially more serious complications (e.g., swelling of heart, liver, or spleen, neurologic symptoms).
Hurricane Harvey-Clinical Guidance for Carbon - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 406
Sat, 09 Sep 2017 17:30:00 EST
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if present in sufficient concentration in the ambient air. During a significant power outage, persons using alternative fuel or power sources such as generators or gasoline powered engine tools such as pressure washers might be exposed to toxic CO levels if the fuel or power sources are placed inside or too close to the exterior of the building causing CO to build up in the structure. The purpose of this HAN advisory is to remind clinicians evaluating persons affected by the storm to maintain a high index of suspicion for CO poisoning.
Increase in Reported cases of Cyclospora cayetanensis Infection, United States, Summer 2017 - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 405
Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:00:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State and Local Health Departments, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating an increase in reported cases of cyclosporiasis. The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to notify public health departments and healthcare facilities and to provide guidance to healthcare providers of the increase in reported cases. Please disseminate this information to healthcare providers in hospitals and emergency rooms, to primary care providers, and to microbiology laboratories.Healthcare providers should consider a diagnosis of cyclosporiasis in patients with prolonged or remitting-relapsing diarrheal illness. Testing for Cyclospora is not routinely done in most U.S. laboratories, even when stool is tested for parasites. Healthcare providers must specifically order testing for Cyclospora, whether testing is requested by ova and parasite (O&P) examination, by molecular methods, or by a gastrointestinal pathogen panel test. Cyclosporiasis is a nationally notifiable disease; healthcare providers should report suspect and confirmed cases of infection to public health authorities.
Patients Receiving Eculizumab (Soliris®) at High Risk for Invasive Meningococcal Disease Despite Vaccination - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 404
Fri, 07 Jul 2017 07:00:00 EST
Eculizumab (Soliris®) recipients have a 1,000 to 2,000-fold greater risk of invasive meningococcal disease compared to the general U.S. population. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescribing information for eculizumab includes a black box warning for increased risk of meningococcal disease, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends meningococcal vaccination for all patients receiving eculizumab. Recent data show that some patients receiving eculizumab who were vaccinated with the recommended meningococcal vaccines still developed meningococcal disease, most often from nongroupable Neisseria meningitidis, which rarely causes invasive disease in healthy individuals.
Potential for Falsely Low Blood Lead Test Results from LeadCare® Analyzers - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 403
Wed, 17 May 2017 05:00:00 EST
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety communication warning about the use of Magellan Diagnostics' LeadCare® analyzers (LeadCare, LeadCare II, LeadCare Ultra and LeadCare Plus) with venous blood samples because they might result in falsely low test results. FDA is now advising that Magellan Diagnostics' LeadCare® analyzers should no longer be used with venous blood samples. The safety alert does not apply to capillary blood lead test results collected by fingerstick or heelstick. The purpose of this Health Advisory is to notify state and local health departments, healthcare providers, and laboratories about CDC's re-testing guidance in light of the safety alert.
Prolonged IgM Antibody Response in People Infected with Zika Virus: Implications for Interpreting Serologic Testing Results for Pregnant Women - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 402
Fri, 05 May 2017 07:30:00 EST
In July 2016, CDC issued Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure - United States, July 2016 (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6529e1.htm) that includes Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) testing of pregnant women. However, some flavivirus infections can result in prolonged IgM responses (>12 weeks) that make it difficult to determine the timing of infection, especially in testing of asymptomatic people. Emerging epidemiologic and laboratory data indicate that Zika virus IgM can persist beyond 12 weeks in a subset of infected people. Therefore, detection of IgM may not always indicate a recent infection. Although IgM persistence could affect IgM test interpretation for all infected people, it would have the greatest effect on clinical management of pregnant women with a history of living in or traveling to areas with Zika virus transmission. Pregnant women who test positive for IgM antibody may have been infected with Zika virus and developed an IgM response before conception.
CDC Recommendations for Diagnosing and Managing Shigella Strains with Possible Reduced Susceptibility to Ciprofloxacin - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 401
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:00:00 EST
This Health Advisory describes the identification of emerging Shigella strains with elevated minimum inhibitory concentration values for ciprofloxacin and outlines new recommendations for clinical diagnosis, management, and reporting, as well as new recommendations for laboratories and public health officials. Current interpretive criteria provided by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) categorize these strains as susceptible to ciprofloxacin, which is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic and a key agent in the management of Shigella infections.
Investigation of Seoul Virus Outbreak Associated with Home-based, Rat-breeding Facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 400
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 09:00:00 EDT
CDC and health officials from Wisconsin and Illinois are conducting an investigation of Seoul virus infections among pet rats and persons exposed to rats at rat-breeding facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois. Seoul virus is a member of the hantavirus group of rodent-borne viruses. Trace-back and trace-out investigations of possibly infected rodents have identified distribution chains in other states that may require additional investigations. People who become infected with this virus often exhibit relatively mild or no symptoms, but some will develop a form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) with death in approximately 1-2% of HFRS cases. Although serologic studies have indicated the presence of Seoul virus in wild rats in the United States, this is the first known outbreak associated with pet rats in the United States.
Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 399 -CDC Guidance for Travel and Testing of Pregnant Women and Women of Reproductive Age for Zika Virus Infection Related to the Investigation for Local Mosquito-borne Zika Virus Transmission in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 399
Wed, 14 Dec 2016 12:57:00 EDT
On November 28, 2016, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) reported the first case of locally acquired mosquito-borne Zika virus infection in the city of Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas. On December 9, 2016, four additional cases in people living in proximity to the first case were reported. TDSHS continues to investigate Zika virus transmission in Brownsville.
CDC Updates Guidance for Pregnant Women and Women and Men of Reproductive Age for Zika Virus Infection Related to the Ongoing Investigation of Local Mosquito-borne Zika Virus Transmission in Miami-Dade County, Florida - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 398
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:00:00 EST
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously issued travel, testing, and other guidance related to areas of active Zika virus transmission in Florida. Because local transmission of Zika virus continues to be reported in Miami-Dade County, CDC is strengthening travel recommendations for pregnant women to Miami-Dade County and also reinforcing recommendations for use of protective measures to prevent exposure to Zika. CDC is updating recommendations to emphasize testing for pregnant women with an epidemiologic link to Miami-Dade County. An epidemiologic link means that they lived in, traveled to, or had unprotected sex with someone who lived in or traveled to, the designated area. In addition, CDC has made specific recommendations for areas of identified active transmission.
CDC Advises Hospitals to Alert Patients at Risk from Contaminated Heater-Cooler Devices Used during Cardiac Surgery - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 397
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:00:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising hospitals to notify patients who underwent open-heart (open-chest) surgery involving a Stöckert 3T heater-cooler that the device was potentially contaminated, possibly putting patients at risk for a life threatening infection. New information indicates that these devices, manufactured by LivaNova PLC (formerly Sorin Group Deutschland GmbH), were likely contaminated with the rare bacteria Mycobacterium chimaera during manufacturing. Hospitals should advise potentially exposed patients to seek medical care if they are experiencing symptoms such as night sweats, muscle aches, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, or unexplained fever. In addition, hospitals that use or have used this device are strongly encouraged to make and execute a plan to communicate with potentially exposed patients and to increase awareness among healthcare providers.
CDC Updates Guidance for Travel and Testing of Pregnant Women and Women of Reproductive Age for Zika Virus Infection Related to the Ongoing Investigation of Local Mosquito-borne Zika Virus Transmission in Miami-Dade County, Florida - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 396
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 07:45:00 EST
CDC previously issued travel, testing, and other guidance related to local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission (active Zika virus transmission) that the Florida Department of Health (FL DOH) identified in two areas of Miami-Dade County: (1) a one-square-mile area in Wynwood, and (2) a 1.5-square-mile area in Miami Beach. CDC has updated the guidance for people who live in or traveled to these areas.
Influx of Fentanyl-laced Counterfeit Pills and Toxic Fentanyl-related Compounds Further Increases Risk of Fentanyl-related Overdose and Fatalities - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 395
Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:00:00 EST
On October 26, 2015, CDC issued HAN 384 (http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00384.asp) that alerted (1) public health departments, health care professionals, first responders, and medical examiners and coroners of the increase in fentanyl-related unintentional overdose fatalities in multiple states primarily driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) (i.e., non-pharmaceutical fentanyl); (2) provided recommendations for improving detection of fentanyl-related overdose outbreaks; and (3) encouraged states to expand access to naloxone and training for administering naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths.
CDC Expands Guidance for Travel and Testing of Pregnant Women, Women of Reproductive Age, and Their Partners for Zika Virus Infection Related to Mosquito-borne Zika Virus Transmission in Miami-Dade, Florida - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 394
Fri, 19 Aug 2016 12:35:00 EST
CDC has previously issued travel, testing, and other guidance for local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission (active Zika virus transmission) for a one-square-mile area in the Wynwood area of Miami that the Florida Department of Health (FL DOH) identified. The guidance for those who live in or traveled to this area any time after June 15, 2016, remains in effect.FL DOH continues to investigate active Zika virus transmission in South Florida. Investigation has revealed a new area of active transmission in a 1.5-square-mile section of Miami Beach. In addition, FL DOH has identified multiple other individual instances of mosquito-borne Zika virus infection and an increase in travel-related cases.
CDC Guidance for Travel and Testing of Pregnant Women and Women of Reproductive Age for Zika Virus Infection Related to the Investigation for Local Mosquito-borne Zika Virus Transmission in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Florida - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 393
Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:05:00 EST
The Florida Department of Health (FL DOH) has identified an area with local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission (active Zika virus transmission) in Miami (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/intheus/florida-update.html). Based on the earliest time of symptom onset and a maximal two-week incubation period for Zika virus, this guidance applies to women of reproductive age and their partners who live in or traveled to this area after June 15, 2016.This is an ongoing investigation, and CDC is rapidly learning more about the extent of active Zika virus transmission in the area identified by the FL DOH. With the recommendations below, CDC is applying existing guidance to the occurrence of Zika virus transmission in this area of Florida. As more information becomes available, we will update these recommendations.
CDC Recommendations for Subsequent Zika IgM Antibody Testing - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 392
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 07:40:00 EST
Testing for Zika virus infection using real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) molecular assays is now commercially available. When requesting Zika rRT-PCR testing from a commercial laboratory, providers should be aware that commercial laboratories performing rRT-PCR currently do not also offer Zika IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or confirmatory serologic testing (plaque reduction neutralization test, or PRNT). Therefore, if possible, providers should store a serum aliquot for subsequent Zika IgM ELISA testing if the rRT-PCR assay is negative. Otherwise, collection of an additional serum sample may be necessary.
Best Practices for Using PCR to Diagnose Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitidis and Identify Serotype or Serogroup - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 391
Fri, 17 Jun 2016 09:30:00 EST
Determining serotype for Haemophilus influenzae (Hi) and serogroup for Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) is crucial for identifying potential outbreaks and determining appropriate public health responses. Several new commercial multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays capable of simultaneously testing a single specimen for an array of pathogens that cause blood infections, meningitis, or encephalitis are available. These assays can rapidly identify Hi and Nm species, but most do not determine serotype or serogroup. Laboratories should continue to perform culture and use validated, specific real-time PCR assays capable of detecting and differentiating all six serotypes (a-f) of Hi and six serogroups (A, B, C, W, X, and Y) of Nm; otherwise, additional steps need to be taken including performing a reflex culture or at a minimum retaining a clinical sample for further testing.
Alert to U.S. Healthcare Facilities: First mcr-1 Gene in E. coli Bacteria found in a Human in the United States - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 390
Mon, 13 Jun 2016 09:35:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating in a coordinated public health response to the Department of Defense (DoD) announcement on May 26 of the first mcr-1 gene found in bacteria from a human in the United States. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria carrying the mcr-1 gene were found in a urine sample from a person in Pennsylvania with no recent travel outside of the United States who presented to a clinic with a urinary tract infection. The mcr-1 gene makes bacteria resistant to the antibiotic colistin, which is used as a last-resort drug to treat patients with infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). The mcr-1 gene exists on a plasmid, a small piece of DNA that is capable of moving from one bacterium to another, potentially spreading antibiotic resistance to other bacterial species. CDC is issuing this HAN notice as a reminder to U.S. healthcare facilities about recommendations to prevent antibiotic resistant infections and alert them to additional recommendations for detecting and reporting bacteria with the mcr-1 gene.
Diagnostic Testing of Urine Specimens for Suspected Zika Virus Infection - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 389
Wed, 25 May 2016 13:00:00 EST
On May 13, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim guidance (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6518e1.htm) that recommends Zika virus rRT-PCR testing of urine collected less than 14 days after symptom onset, along with testing of patient-matched serum samples, for the diagnosis of suspected Zika virus infection (1). The purpose of this Health Alert Network (HAN) health update is to further disseminate information about the interim guidance to clinical and public health professionals.
Update: Interim Guidelines for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus - United States, 2016 - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 388
Tue, 23 Feb 2016 09:16:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published recommendations for protecting people against sexual transmission of Zika virus (1). As stated in that report, information about possible sexual transmission of Zika virus was based on one published report of transmission from a man to a woman, one published report in which Zika virus was detected in semen of a man with hematospermia, and one case of possible sexual transmission then under investigation in Texas. An additional case of Zika virus detected in semen in a man was reported after the CDC recommendations were published (2). As of February 23, 2016, CDC and state public health departments are investigating 14 additional reports of possible sexual transmission of the virus, including several involving pregnant women. While additional investigations are being completed, CDC is issuing this HAN Advisory as a strong reminder to state, local, and US territorial public health departments, clinicians, and the public to be aware of and adhere to current recommendations for preventing sexual transmission of Zika virus, particularly for men with pregnant partners. These recommendations may change as more information becomes available.
Flu Season Begins: Severe Influenza Illness Reported - CDC urges rapid antiviral treatment of very ill and high risk suspect influenza patients without waiting for testing - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 387
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 03:50:00 EDT
Influenza activity is increasing across the country and CDC has received reports of severe influenza illness. Clinicians are reminded to treat suspected influenza in high-risk outpatients, those with progressive disease, and all hospitalized patients with antiviral medications as soon as possible, regardless of negative rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT) results and without waiting for RT-PCR testing results. Early antiviral treatment works best, but treatment may offer benefit when started up to 4-5 days after symptom onset in hospitalized patients. Early antiviral treatment can reduce influenza morbidity and mortality
CDC Urging Dialysis Providers and Facilities to Assess and Improve Infection Control Practices to Stop Hepatitis C Virus Transmission in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 386
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 05:30:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received an increased number of reports of newly acquired hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among patients undergoing hemodialysis. Infection control lapses in dialysis care could expose patients to HCV.
Recognizing, Managing, and Reporting Zika Virus Infections in Travelers Returning from Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 385
Fri, 15 Jan 2016 16:30:00 EDT
In May 2015, the World Health Organization reported the first local transmission of Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere, with autochthonous (locally acquired) cases identified in Brazil. As of January 15, 2016, local transmission had been identified in at least 14 countries or territories in the Americas, including Puerto Rico (See Pan American Health Organization [PAHO] link below for countries and territories in the Americas with Zika virus transmission). Further spread to other countries in the region is likely.
Increases in Fentanyl Drug Confiscations and Fentanyl-related Overdose Fatalities - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 384
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 04:15:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are investigating recent increases in fentanyl-related unintentional overdose fatalities in multiple states across the U.S. The purpose of this HAN advisory is to: (1) alert public health departments, health care providers, first responders, and medical examiners and coroners to the possibility of additional increases in other jurisdictions, (2) provide recommendations for improving detection of fentanyl-related overdose outbreaks and (3) encourage states to expand access to naloxone and training for administering naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths.
CDC/FDA Health Update about the Immediate Need for Healthcare Facilities to Review Procedures for Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sterilizing Reusable Medical Devices - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 383
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 04:00:00 EST
On September 11, 2015, CDC issued HAN 00382 alerting healthcare providers and facilities about the public health need to properly maintain, clean, and disinfect or sterilize reusable medical devices. Recent infection control lapses due to non-compliance with recommended reprocessing procedures highlight a critical gap in patient safety. Healthcare facilities (e.g., hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, clinics, and doctors' offices) that utilize reusable medical devices are urged to immediately review current reprocessing practices at their facility to ensure they (1) are complying with all steps as directed by the device manufacturers, and (2) have in place appropriate policies and procedures that are consistent with current standards and guidelines.After considering feedback from vendors that perform servicing and repair of reusable medical devices, we are amending HAN Advisory 382 to remove the following sentence: "If healthcare facilities contract maintenance and repair of these devices to third-party vendors, healthcare facilities should verify that these vendors are approved or certified by the manufacturer to provide those services." We are making this change because there are currently no formal standardized programs or processes through which all manufacturers certify third-party vendors. We are also further clarifying that healthcare facilities which hire contractors to perform device reprocessing should verify that the contractor has an appropriate training program (i.e., consistent with what would be required in the healthcare facility) and that the training program includes the specific devices used by the healthcare facility.
Immediate Need for Healthcare Facilities to Review Procedures for Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sterilizing Reusable Medical Devices - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 382
Fri, 11 Sep 2015 08:15:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are alerting healthcare providers and facilities about the public health need to properly maintain, clean, and disinfect or sterilize reusable medical devices. Recent infection control lapses due to non-compliance with recommended reprocessing procedures highlight a critical gap in patient safety. Healthcare facilities (e.g., hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, clinics, and doctors' offices) that utilize reusable medical devices are urged to immediately review current reprocessing practices at their facility to ensure they (1) are complying with all steps as directed by the device manufacturers, and (2) have in place appropriate policies and procedures that are consistent with current standards and guidelines.
Clinical Considerations for the Evaluation of Ill Travelers from Liberia to the United States - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 381
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 09:45:00 EST
CDC recommends that healthcare providers consider not only Ebola virus disease (EVD), but also other much more likely infectious diseases, including malaria, when evaluating ill travelers from Liberia to the United States. Signs and symptoms of EVD are non-specific and overlap with many other more prevalent infectious diseases in West Africa. For any patient returning from West Africa and presenting with non-specific signs and symptoms consistent with EVD, providers should use clinical judgment, taking into account the patient's epidemiological history for management, diagnostic testing, and treatment and coordinate healthcare as needed with the state or local health department to ensure that these patients get appropriate care without delay. The rapid identification of the cause of an acute illness in a Person Under Investigation (PUI) enables rapid treatment and resolution of symptoms.
Updated Information and Guidelines for Evaluation of Patients for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Infection - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 380
Thu, 11 Jun 2015 10:00:00 EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to closely monitor Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) globally, including the cases of MERS-CoV infection recently reported by China and the Republic of Korea, to better understand the risks to public health. The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to provide updated guidance to state health departments and healthcare providers in the evaluation of patients for MERS-CoV infection, which have been revised in light of the current situation in the Republic of Korea. Healthcare providers and public health officials should maintain awareness of the need to consider MERS-CoV infection in ill persons who have recently traveled from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula1 or in the Republic of Korea as outlined in the guidance below. Please disseminate this information to healthcare providers, especially infectious diseases specialists, intensive care physicians, internists, infection preventionists, and to emergency departments and microbiology laboratories.
Ciprofloxacin- and Azithromycin-Nonsusceptible Shigellosis in the United States - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 379
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 12:15:00 EST
CDC continues to receive new reports of infections with Shigella strains that are not susceptible to ciprofloxacin and/or azithromycin, the antimicrobial agents most commonly used to treat shigellosis. Most cases have been reported among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (collectively referred to as MSM) in Illinois, Minnesota, and Montana and among international travelers, but cases are also occurring among other populations. Shigellosis is very contagious and can spread quickly through communities and across different segments of the population.CDC recommends meticulous handwashing and other hygiene practices to prevent shigellosis and encourages patients with symptoms of shigellosis such as diarrhea and fever to visit a healthcare provider. Clinicians should obtain stool cultures from patients suspected of having shigellosis, counsel patients about shigellosis prevention, and, when treatment is required, select drugs based on antimicrobial susceptibility test results.
Bird Infections with Highly-Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (H5N2), (H5N8), and (H5N1) Viruses: Recommendations for Human Health Investigations and Response - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 378
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 11:30:00 EST
Highly-pathogenic avian influenza A H5 viruses have been identified in birds in the United States since December 2014. The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to notify public health workers and clinicians of the potential for human infection with these viruses and to describe CDC recommendations for patient investigation and testing, infection control including the use personal protective equipment, and antiviral treatment and prophylaxis.
Outbreak of Recent HIV and HCV Infections among Persons Who Inject Drugs - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 377
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 07:00:00 EST
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating a large outbreak of recent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among persons who inject drugs (PWID). Many of the HIV-infected individuals in this outbreak are co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to alert public health departments and healthcare providers of the possibility of HIV outbreaks among PWID and to provide guidance to assist in the identification and prevention of such outbreaks.
U.S. Multi-state Measles Outbreak, December 2014-January 2015 - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 376
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:00:00 EDT
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State Health Departments are investigating a multi-state outbreak of measles associated with travel to Disneyland Resort Theme Parks (which includes Disneyland and Disney California Adventure). The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to notify public health departments and healthcare facilities about this measles outbreak and to provide guidance to healthcare providers. Healthcare providers should ensure that all of their patients are current on MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. They should consider measles in the differential diagnosis of patients with fever and rash and ask patients about recent international travel or travel to domestic venues frequented by international travelers. They should also ask patients about their history of measles exposures in their community. Please disseminate this information to healthcare providers in hospitals and emergency rooms, to primary care providers, and to microbiology laboratories.
CDC Health Update Regarding Treatment of Patients with Influenza with Antiviral Medications - Health Alert Network (HAN) No. 375
Fri, 09 Jan 2015 06:00:00 EDT
Widespread influenza activity is being reported in most U.S. states, with influenza A (H3N2) viruses most common. H3N2-predominant flu seasons have been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in older people and young children in the past. In addition, approximately two-thirds of H3N2 viruses that have been tested at CDC are antigenically or genetically different from the H3N2 vaccine virus. This difference suggests that vaccine effectiveness may be reduced this season. High hospitalization rates are being observed, similar to what was seen during the 2012-2013 influenza season. Hospitalization rates are especially high among people 65 years and older. In this context, the use of influenza antiviral drugs as an adjunct to vaccination becomes even more important than usual in protecting people from influenza. Antiviral medications are effective in treating influenza and reducing complications. Antivirals are available and recommended, but evidence from the current and previous influenza seasons suggests that they are severely underutilized.
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