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CDC releases rough draft of updated influenza guidelines for public comment

After announcing a review of the 2009 interim flu guidelines [1], the CDC has released a rough draft of updated guidelines on the Federal Register [2] (search “CDC”), which will be up for public comment until July 22.

“In particular, one major change from the spring and fall of 2009 is the widespread availability of a safe and effective vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus,” the updated guidelines read. “Second, the overall risk of hospitalization and death among people infected with this strain, while uncertain in spring and fall of 2009 is now known to be substantially lower than pre-pandemic assumptions. The current circumstances and new information justify an update of the recommendations. This updated guidance continues to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive influenza prevention strategy that can be applied across the entire spectrum of healthcare settings.”

The rough draft also addresses the use of N95 respirators, a hotly contested issue throughout the flu season. The updated guidelines call for healthcare workers to adhere to droplet precautions and use surgical masks, except during aerosol generating procedures when an N95 respirator should be worn to provide added protection.

The document also addresses fundamental prevention efforts including:

Click here [3] to read the full document along with directions for submitting comments.

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Seasonal and H1N1 influenza have prompted many healthcare facilities to consider mandatory influenza immunization for employees. The reaction from employees has been unmistakably vocal, as issues of patient safety and workers’ rights clash. Join HCPro for Mandatory Influenza Vaccinations: Get Healthcare Staff Onboard at Your Facility [4] on Wednesday, July 14, at 1 p.m. (Eastern) for a 90-minute webcast that will provide you with the medical and legal perspectives for developing a mandatory influenza immunization policy.